NRL commentator Phil Gould has written that that the sacrifices made by the Warriors should never be forgotten.
A premiership winning coach with the Panthers and Bulldogs, as well as the most successful NSW Origin coach, Gould said this year’s revamped premiership will be the toughest of all time, with teams playing 18 weeks in a row.
“No breaks and super-intense football every weekend, because the results will be so important in this shorter competition, will make this 2020 NRL premiership race an exhausting physical examination,” Gould wrote about the Covid-19 affected competition.
The Channel Nine commentator singled out the Warriors, who have a 0-2 record before the season was halted, who will be constantly on the road.
“There will be no mid-season reprieve this year. It’s non-stop, every week, stand-and-deliver club football from go to whoa. Only the strongest will survive,” he wrote.
“Now, add into this equation the fact several teams will not be playing on their home grounds. With teams grouped into competition "hubs", playing out of selected venues, some teams get to enjoy familiar surroundings, while others will be constantly on the road.
“Obviously, the New Zealand Warriors face the greatest challenge here. The sacrifices this club has made to keep the competition going should never be underestimated, nor forgotten.”
Gould said his pre-season pick, the Canberra Raiders, were his team to beat after losing last year’s thrilling grand final.
He had cooled on his other prediction, the Roosters, who he said had been weakened by the retirement of Cooper Cronk and the departure of Latrell Mitchell to South Sydney.