Thursday, 20 July 2017

2000: Financial Collapse and Reinvention

In National Rugby League season 2000 the Warriors could only finish second last. This season included the Warriors' largest ever loss in their history to date, 54–0 to the Dragons in Wollongong. Alarmingly, the problems off-field overshadowed the on-field problems. The majority shareholders were under intense financial pressure, and the club's future was looking bleak at best. The key assets of the club were purchased by business tycoon Eric Watson. This did not include player contracts, and many players were released and had to fight to get the money they had been promised. Ultimately only 10 players from the 2000 season were retained.

The club was re-branded as the New Zealand Warriors, with new colours of black and grey – resembling the national sporting colours. New coach Daniel Anderson and CEO Mick Watson focused on signing unknown New Zealand talent. There were only six Australians in the 2001 squad, and only three foundation players – Monty Betham, Stacey Jones and Logan Swann.


  • 20 February - Round 3: Nigel Vagana played in his 50th match for the club.
  • 1 April - Round 9: Joe Vagana played in his 100th match for the club.
  • 8 April - Round 10: Lee Oudenryn played in his 50th match for the club.
  • 6 May - Round 14: The Warriors lost 0-54 to the St. George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium. This result stands as the Warriors largest defeat to date.
  • 18 June - Round 20: Jerry Seuseu played in his 50th match for the club.
  • October–November: 20 players from the club participated in the World Cup: Stacey Jones, Ali Lauitiiti, Logan Swann, Joe Vagana, Nigel Vagana (New Zealand), Peter Lewis (Cook Islands), Talite Liava'a (Tonga), Monty Betham, Henry Fa'afili, Joe Galuvao, Vae Kololo, Francis Meli, Jerry Seuseu (Samoa), Terry Hermansson, Wairangi Koopu, Odell Manuel, Boycie Nelson, Henry Perenara, Clinton Toopi, Paul Whatuira (Aotearoa Māori).

The Warriors finished the 2000 season in 13th position (2nd last) on 18 points. (8 wins, 2 draws, 16 losses). Mark Graham was the coach of the side with John Simon the club captain. The average attendance for their home games was 12,246. Nigel Vagana was the leading try scored with 12 tries while John Simon was the leading point scored with 54. Robbie Mears won Player of the Year but was forced to move on with new management not honoring his contract. 


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