20 Sep 2019

Home match perfect timing for Warriors women

1:45 pm on 20 September 2019

The Warriors believe their first home game in rugby league's NRL-W competition has come at the perfect time.

New Zealand Warrior's womens coach Luisa Avaiki.

New Zealand Warrior's womens coach Luisa Avaiki. Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

After missing out on a home match in last year's inaugural season, the Auckland-based franchise host the Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Travelling every week proved a struggle for the Warriors last year and head coach Luisa Avaiki said the timing of the clash was ideal when it came to their title aspirations.

"[This is] a really good break for us with the travel. Like if I could have wished it for any week, it would be this week.

"It's good to get another team to travel to us and us not have to travel to them, but it'll also mean that we're a little bit fresher when we travel again in the third week."

The Warriors players also felt their first home game would will be special, regardless of how many people are in the stands.

Veteran Kiwi Ferns and Warriors hooker Krystal Rota said they expected it to be a memorable occasion.

"It's a little bit nerve-wracking. You sort of think, oh gosh, I hope the stands aren't empty.

"But I think it doesn't matter for us whether we pull numbers, it's more that our families and friends are going to be there to support us.

"That's going to be the uplifting thing for the girls, to look up in the stands and know that your friends and family are there, more than seeing thousands of people that we do when we have a curtain-raiser for the [Warriors] men."

Meanwhile coach Avaiki is confident Charntay Poko isn't fussed by being a target after her stunning NRL-W debut last weekend.

The 23-year-old stole the show in the team's upset win over the Roosters in Melbourne, controlling the game with her kicking, scoring a try and otherwise playing a prominent role in attack.

The performance meant Poko, who comes from a rugby union background, was unlikely to catch the Dragons by surprise.

But Avaiki said that wasn't fazing the young playmaker.

"That game was kind of her introducing herself to the rugby league community.

"One of the things that her and I spoke about after that game, I said, 'you know you've got a target on your back next week'.

"She just said yep ... it's all good, we've got other strengths in our team that people don't know about and we'll just be smart and utilise the other strengths."