Team List [2023, Finals Week 1] - Penrith Vs Warriors

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‘We want to seize the opportunity’: Exclusive - Warriors to travel to Sydney for NRL finals clash with Penrith in private jet to ensure best possible preparation​


The Warriors won’t be cutting any corners as they prepare for their biggest match in more than a decade – with the club deciding to use a private jet to transport the team to Australia later this week.

After finishing in the top four for the first time since 2007, the Warriors face Penrith in the qualifying final on Saturday night (6pm NZT).

If they beat the minor premiers, they will be one win away from the grand final, as they would receive a bye to the preliminary final, which in that case would be staged in Auckland. The carrot of that potential scenario – plus other logistical factors – has seen the club decide to take the huge step of investing in charter flights for the team, with the squad travelling in a 65-seat private plane.

It’s a move that is almost unprecedented in club history, though there were some similar arrangements made in 2002 when the club reached the grand final for the first time.

It will be a considerable expense - at least four times the cost of using a commerical flight - but Warriors chief executive Cameron George is adamant the cost is justified. It’s also a sign of the lengths the club is prepared to go to ensure an optimal preparation.

“We are chips-in for this,” George told the Herald. “This is a huge moment for our footy club, and we want to try to get everything as smooth and as streamlined as possible. This is our commitment to the footy team, the staff and the fans; we want to do everything we possibly can to have the best preparation.”

There were several factors that swayed the decision.

The first was to alleviate the risk of delays, which have blighted their recent transtasman travel. The Herald understands the squad has faced disruptions on at least three of their recent away trips. The most prolonged occurred last week. They were meant to arrive on Thursday 6pm (local time) in Brisbane, ahead of the Dolphins clash last Saturday, but didn’t land in the Queensland capital until after midnight.

It also allows the Warriors the option to return home on Saturday night, instead of having to fly from Sydney on Sunday. The match will finish around 6pm (Sydney time), which allows them plenty of time to get to the airport before the 10pm curfew, after which planes aren’t allowed to take off.

”It makes travel real efficient, [being] on our own plane,” said George. “There have been a couple of instances recently where we have had delays. This hopefully helps us to reduce that risk or even eliminate it by having our own charter. And it means we can get home quicker, instead of getting home at 5pm or something on Sunday and losing a day of recovery.”

It was also going to be a headache to find an appropriate commerical flight out of Auckland. The club didn’t receive confirmation of the finals schedule until late on Sunday evening, by which stage it was difficult to find a Thursday afternoon departure with the required seats available for their 45-strong party.

”The planes were full by the time we knew the timings,” said George.

The alternative would have meant a Friday departure post-captain’s run in Auckland, which is far from ideal for an early kick-off the next day or an early morning flight on Thursday, which wouldn’t be the best option in an already compressed week.

”Commercially, it was challenging for us,” said George. “This is the best pathway for us to get there, in the most efficient and best-prepared way.”

While it is a significant outlay, George said the potential upside was too hard to ignore.

”The club has worked for years to get these opportunities,” said George. “This is an investment to try to achieve the best result we can. We are not here to make up the numbers - we are here to win it.”

“If we go there and win, we have got two weeks off and we’ve got the biggest event in sport in New Zealand. Or if we go there and get beat, at least we are home a day early to recover and get ready to go again next week. There were lots of positives for us.”

“We want to give Webby and his team all the support, and the best possible preparation that we can. That’s my job, for the environment. We want to seize this opportunity.”

 
Probably won't get much out of the team list with finals mind games? Hope to see Jazz back
You would think there would be zero benefit in playing 4D chess with the Panthers.

They don't care who we name. And we should probably adopt the same mindset.

Pretty sure the coach will want to reward the players and give them clear messaging now.

You are named because you earned it.
 
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You would think there would be zero benefit in playing 4D chess with the Panthers.

They don't care who we name. And we should probably adopt the same mindset.

Pretty sure the coach will want to reward the players and give them clear messaging now.

You are named because you earned it.
The players always know who is playing regardless of the team list
 
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