NRL: NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster says no to second NZ-based NRL team

NZ Warriors coach Andrew Webster has urged caution over the prospect of adding a second NZ-based team to the NRL.

Ex-NRL boss David Moffat is spearheading a bid for a new team known as South Island Kea, based at Christchurch's Te Kaha Stadium, which is currently under construction with a view to opening in April 2026.

The Warriors' soaring popularity has only added fuel to that fire. The club is currently on track to become perhaps the first NRL team to sell out all 14 home games in a season.

Warriors fans at Go Media Stadium.
Warriors fans at Go Media Stadium. Photo credit: Getty Images

Webster says it's too soon for Aotearoa to bring in more competition, insisting the Warriors need more time to cement and improve their brand.

"I really do hope that we keep one team in New Zealand for a lot longer, just keep making this product even better," Webster said.

"There's certainly no complacency from us as a club, as players, or staff or anyone in the club that we've hit where we want to hit, so I'd like us to nail that first before we did that... not to say that it can't happen one day."

Saturdays' clash with Melbourne Storm at their Go Media Stadium headquarters sold out three weeks ago, while the stadium hit full capacity for their next home encounter on June 29 with Brisbane Broncos five weeks ago.

Such is the Warriors' growing imprint in a traditionally rugbycentric market, NZ Rugby and SANZAAR chose to schedule the Hurricanes' Super Rugby Pacific semi-final against the Chiefs in an earlier time slot to avoid clashing with the Warriors' 7pm kickoff.

While Super Rugby tournament director Matt Barlow wouldn't concede their scheduling decision was a direct influenced by the Warriors time slot, he did concede it would allow fans to watch "as much sport as possible".

"The finals schedule has some flexibility around time slots, so we looked at all sporting action taking place across the weekend to ensure we're giving fans the opportunity to enjoy as much sport as possible," Barlow said.

Webster admits many may perceive his stance against a second team as directly motivated by his position with the Warriors, whose fanbase would likely be diluted if another franchise moved in.

"People would say I'm being biased and that I'm holding back the rest of the country, but I think it doesn't matter where you are in New Zealand right now, they want to go home and watch the Warriors," he added.

"I think the community, from the top of the country down to the bottom, is behind the Warriors, so I don't know why we need to ruin that."

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