Why Warriors would walk away from table in Vegas

Publish Date
Tuesday, 11 June 2024, 2:02PM

By Will Toogood

Since news broke that the NRL had committed to a five-year agreement to begin each season in Las Vegas, Warriors fans have eagerly awaited an announcement that their team would be on the line-up.

This year, the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles launched the year in Sin City to great success in both Australia and abroad. According to News Corp, the Warriors, Penrith Panthers, Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders are the frontrunners for 2025.

While the Warriors are yet to be confirmed as a team to head abroad next year, chief executive Cameron George has alluded that a deal may be close to completion.

He told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking there was a “big chance” the club could be headed to Vegas, pending further negotiations.

“There’s a big chance, but admittedly we’re not confirmed. I’ve got some paperwork I’m working through with the NRL, we’ll catch up again later this week.”

George said there was one caveat which he considered to be a non-negotiable element of the deal: that the Warriors would play in Las Vegas as an away team.

“We’re an away team so it doesn’t impact on our home game schedule. That’s absolutely non-negotiable, so if the NRL agrees to that, you know, then we’re a chance of being there.”

It comes as little surprise that the Warriors would look to retain as many home games as possible, the club are on track for a historic season of sellouts for each home game at Go Media Mt Smart stadium this year.

Tickets to Saturday’s match against the Melbourne Storm sold out two weeks in advance and the large crowds provide a vital financial boost for the club.

The Warriors would also likely be in a strong negotiating position; a dedicated fanbase on both sides of the Tasman would mean they could pitch the NRL with reasonable certainty of plenty of fans heading to Las Vegas.

It may not only be fans who are anticipating the news of the Warriors heading to Vegas. Star halfback Shaun Johnson said in March he wants in, regardless of whether he extends his contract beyond this season.

“Let’s just say, if we’re in Vegas, I’m going to be there either way,” Johnson said. “Run a blue shirt [as a trainer], play, whatever it is, I’ve got to be there for that.

“That’s pretty cool if we’re in the mixer for that and you can get over there. I’m sure they [the NRL] could reward us with something like that.

“I can’t ever turn my back on Mt Smart, but I’d say running a blue shirt in Vegas would be a lot cooler than running a blue shirt at Mt Smart.

“If it’s not Vegas, it better be Mt Smart and if it’s not Mt Smart, it better be Vegas.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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