'We believe we can do something special' - David Fusitu'a bringing Mate Ma'a Tonga mindset to Warriors

Warriors winger David Fusitu'a has returned to his NRL team with plenty of valuable experience and a new mindset after an historic World Cup campaign with Mate Ma'a Tonga last year.

The 23-year-old scored five tries in the tournament, including a sensational hat-trick against the Kiwis in Tonga's 28-22 win as Tonga went on to become the first tier two nation to reach the semi-finals of Rugby League World Cup.

Now Fusitua says he feels that same belief Tonga had re-entering the Warriors camp ahead of this year's NRL competition.

"There's a little bit more experience, especially with the World Cup, and [I've] come away with a little bit more confidence.

"We believe we can do something special here and be the first team to do it here at the Warriors."

The Warriors have reached two Grand Finals since joining the NRL in 1995 but have lost on both occasions.

Fusitua says it won't be about implementing Tonga's strategies with the Warriors but instead using the same belief the Pacific team felt.

"I can do my best to replicate what I did in the World Cup or even be a better than that.

"The best thing is you come away from [Mate Ma'a Tonga] and you get a little bit of confidence from there so if that's what I can offer the team, that's what I'll do."

The Warriors have spent their pre-season with a training camp at Papamoa Beach where All Blacks captain Kieran Read came and spoke to them.

The team's first pre-season match is against the Storm in Rotorua next month.


Warriors fans losing the faith as Kiwi NRL club struggles to recruit 2018 memberships

Poor results, a top eight drought and loss of key players are all beginning to stack up against the Warriors with club membership numbers all dropping significantly ahead of this season.

The Warriors fan base was recognised as one of the strongest this time last year, sitting sixth out of all clubs 12,074 memberships.

But that number has dropped significantly this year with 31 per cent opting out of their memberships - leaving the Warriors with 8,305 fans signed up and second to last on the table.

Only the Gold Coast Titans are worse with 5,335.

The Warriors have not qualified for the playoffs since reaching the Grand Final in 2011 with their best result of the past seven seasons being a ninth-placed finish in 2014.

Since their last Grand Final appearance, almost the entire club from front office to playing field has left the New Zealand franchise bar two players - Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering.

But despite the changes and playoff absence, the faith remained amongst the loyal fanbase with a massive spike in memberships coming in 2016 when 18,350 fans joined only for that number to drop off again quickly in 2017.

The Warriors spent this offseason recruiting a number of experienced players to help redevelop a winning culture at the club, with Kiwi duo Tohu Harris and Adam Blair signing on after both winning NRL titles with the Melbourne Storm, although Blair would later have his 2009 title stripped due to salary cap breaches.

The pair are joined by five-eight Blake Green who also boasts winning experience after claiming a Super League title with the Wigan Warriors in 2013.

The Warriors begin their NRL season on March 10 away against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Shaun Johnson leaves the field injured during the Warriors and Penrith Panthers' NRL match at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. , Round 19 of the 2017 NRL Rugby League Premiership season at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 14 July 2017. Copyright photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Shaun Johnson leaves the field injured during the Warriors and Penrith Panthers' NRL match at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. Source: Photosport



'I believe that was disrespectful' - Warriors take aim at NZ Rugby after teen's Sevens selection

After Etene Nanai-Seturo's successful New Zealand Sevens debut in Sydney over the weekend, Warriors CEO Cameron George has criticised New Zealand Rugby.

Nanai-Seturo, 18, is contracted to the Warriors until the end of next year, although has made his intentions to switch codes to rugby union clear to the Auckland NRL club.

The young talent was picked for the New Zealand side to compete in Sydney last week, much to the ire of the Warriors, with George telling RadioLIVE about his anger towards NZR.

"There has to be respect amongst codes and I believe we are not being shown that right now," George said yesterday.

"There are a number of parties involved in this but at the end of the day, New Zealand Rugby understood the situation of this gentleman and to simply go name him in that squad I believe that was disrespectful."

"He is employed by us so to simply walk out on us and go play a different code it would have been dealt with much easier and in a proper way."

With the dispute showing no signs of abating any time soon, George says that the Warriors could take legal action over the matter.

"This may go down the path of ending up in court to ascertain who's right and who's wrong. That advice is still coming to use and that's all I can say with the legal side of things."

Nanai-Seturo could feature for the New Zealand sevens side again, with the team yet to name their squad for this weekend's Hamilton leg of the World Series.

Etene Nanai-Seturo breaks a tackle during the HSBC Sydney Rugby Sevens Quarter Final between New Zealand  and Australia at Allianz Stadium, Sydney,  Sunday 28th January 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Etene Nanai-Seturo playing for New Zealand sevens Source: Photosport