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Season Preview - New Zealand Warriors
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Ins: Jayson Bukuya (Sharks), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Chad Townsend (Sharks).

Outs: Pita Godinet (Wakefield), Todd Lowrie (Broncos), Steve Rapira (Salford), Elijah Taylor (Panthers).

2013 Record – 11th, 26 points (11 wins, 13 losses).

Stat Rankings:

Attack: 9th, 20.63  ppg

Defence: 13th, 23.08 ppg

Marquee Man: Shaun Johnson – Budding superstar who continues to develop and impress each season. A former touch football player, Johnson has sublime skills and regularly bamboozles opposition defences with his footwork and pace. With an improved kicking game, Johnson will be looking to add more consistency to his performances in order to take the Warriors deep in 2014.

Under the Spotlight: Sam Tomkins – A diminutive fullback with electric pace and ball skills, Tomkins has dominated the English game for years and comes to New Zealand and the NRL with huge raps. Signed on a big money deal, much is expected of the Englishman, however it remains to be seen how he will adapt to the rigours of week in week out football as he looks to ply his trade in Rugby League’s toughest competition.

Draw Analysis: Good opportunity to hit the ground running with 3 of first 4 games against last year’s bottom 3 sides.

Verdict:

The Warriors continue to excite and frustrate fans at the same time with their inconsistent performances, with 2013 being no different.

They were involved in many games that could have gone either way, with 8 of the Warriors 11 wins coming by a margin of 1-12, whilst at the other end of the scale 8 of their 13 losses were also achieved by this margin.

They also appeared to struggle in warmer conditions, winning just 2 of 11 day matches in 2013.

There is certainly no doubting the Warriors talent as they are capable of beating any side on their day, however it is their consistency over 26 rounds that continues to be an issue, and it will be this factor that coach Matt Elliot will need to address if the Warriors are to play Semi Finals football in 2014.

Given the Warriors attacking prowess, Shaun Johnson may be worth a nibble at $10 to be the season Top Pointscorer with Sportsbet. 

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