Struggling Warriors confirm Mt Smart sellout for emotional homecoming match against Wests Tigers

The Warriors' fans are keeping the faith for their first match at home in nearly three years.

Kerry Marshall/PHOTOSPORT

The Warriors’ fans are keeping the faith for their first match at home in nearly three years.

The Warriors have sold out their first home match in nearly three years and more than 25,000 fans will attend Mount Smart Stadium for their NRL clash with the Wests Tigers on July 3.

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 has forced the Auckland club to be based in Australia for almost two-and-a-half years.

The Warriors, after performing admirably and nearly making the playoffs in 2020, have struggled since while being away from New Zealand, finishing 12th last season.

The Warriors are 15th on the ladder after 15 rounds.

Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The Warriors are 15th on the ladder after 15 rounds.

They are 15th on this season’s ladder after 15 rounds, with just four wins from their 11 matches, and are eight points outside the playoffs (the top eight).

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However, their long-suffering fans will nevertheless pack out their Auckland home for the club’s emotional return next weekend.

The club said it would be only the fourth time in their history that they have sold out a fixture in the regular season and was the fastest selling match in the club’s history.

The Warriors have been based in Australia since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Ashley Feder/Getty Images

The Warriors have been based in Australia since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

“We’re so thrilled having Mount Smart packed for our members, fans, families and sponsors who will at last see the Vodafone Warriors playing at home,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said in a statement.

“The resilience and patience they’ve shown has been extraordinary and the way they have embraced this occasion has been unbelievable.

“We put up tickets for the embankment at the northern of the ground earlier this week and they flew out the door while all the stands and corporate hospitality were sold out days ago.

“It’s a wonderful tribute to our supporters who have shown how much the club means to them.

“We can’t wait for July 3, one of the most important and emotional occasions in our history.”

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The Warriors last played at Mt Smart 1038 days ago when they welcomed the South Sydney Rabbitohs on August 30, 2019.

They last sold out Mt Smart for club legend Simon Mannering’s farewell home match against the Canberra Raiders in 2018.

Next month’s Tigers fixture will be their fourth in Auckland this season while the club is still based in Redcliffe in Queensland.

The Warriors will also host the Melbourne Storm on July 29, the Canterbury Bulldogs on August 12 and the Gold Coast Titans on September 3.

Stacey Jones has taken over as the Warriors’ interim coach after Nathan Brown’s departure this month.

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