NRL: NZ Warriors hold no scars for Melbourne Storm Anzac Day rematch, 12 months on from record defeat

A year on from the worst defeat in the club's history, NZ Warriors have no scars from their devastating Anzac Day loss to Melbourne Storm.

Twelve months ago, they were played off the park in the traditional fixture, going down 70-10 - conceding 54 unanswered points in the second half alone.

Fast forward a year and the Warriors are a completely different proposition under new coach Andrew Webster.

After the first seven rounds of the new season, they sit third on the NRL ladder, with five wins and two defeats, compared to 11th at the same point in 2022.

Naturally, talk of revenge against the Storm would be natural for the club and its fans in the lead-up to next Tuesday's clash, but for the team themselves, there's no point in worrying about what's come before, a message hammered home by their coach.  

"We're in a different place," said Webster. "There are so many parts of our club that are different.

"To bring up the past and something that some of our players have no part of, had nothing to do with, at a different time in the club's history... it's stupid to bring up those moments.

"You don't want to be denting the boys' confidence. I know you guys are going to ask those questions, there's a story in bringing up the past, but we don't need it."

Of the 17 players that took part in last year's defeat, only 10 are still with the club, with nine of those named to play in this year's repeat fixture. Captain Tohu Harris is the 10th player on that list, but he missed the game with a knee injury sustained in 2021.

Charged with leading the Warriors into their new era under Webster, the veteran forward says the club's new ways have made all the difference in their impressive start to 2023, but it must continue that push for a first Anzac Day win over the Storm since 2014. 

Shaun Johnson reacts in the Warriors' defeat to Melbourne Storm (2022).
Shaun Johnson reacts in the Warriors' defeat to Melbourne Storm (2022). Photo credit: Photosport

"To be honest, it feels completely different to previous years," said Harris, 31. "We're a different squad, we've got a new group, new coach, we're back home, which makes a huge difference in itself.

"We're super excited for this week. We've built some good form over the first 6-7 games.

"We've managed to win games not playing our best footy. That's given us a lot of confidence, but a lot to work on.

"Everything leading into this game feels different for us. We're really excited to get out there and have a good performance."

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