Warriors fans to restore league's Eden Park image

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:04 18/02/2011
Kiwi Isaac Luke kicks away one of the many plastic bottles thrown onto Eden Park as he leaves the field during the rugby league test against the Kangaroos.
Getty Images

BOTTLED: Kiwi Isaac Luke kicks away one of the many plastic beer bottles thrown onto Eden Park as he leaves the field during the rugby league test against the Kangaroos in 2010.

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Warriors boss Wayne Scurrah has backed his club's fans to put some shine back on rugby league's tarnished image at Eden Park.

The league faithful did themselves no favours with the disgraceful bottle-throwing scenes at last November's historic test between the Kiwis and Kangaroos at rugby's traditional stronghold.

Now the Warriors are set to open their NRL season at Eden Park when they host the Parramatta Eels there on March 12.

They have snubbed their Mt Smart base, hoping to cash in on a bumper crowd with Scurrah hopeful of breaking the club record of 32,000.

Security will be a big issue with league keen to make amends and Eden Park equally aware of the need to have an issue-free occasion as it continues to fine-tune its operation ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Scurrah believes circumstances conspired against league during the ill-fated Four Nations test and senses this occasion has the ingredients to right the wrongs.

"I don't think that was reflective of a rugby league crowd. It was the nature of the circumstances of it being the first big event, a dead rubber, and obviously the Kiwis weren't going so well by halftime so maybe the crowd got a bit bored," Scurrah reasoned.

"I think everyone learnt out of that. We know what our crowds are like and the NRL crowds in general; and we aren't anticipating any issues at all. We are working hard with Eden Park and also the city to make it a fantastic experience for everyone who comes.

"I think Warriors fans come predominantly for the games. Let's not forget we have the Junior Warriors playing the curtain raiser and they are the reigning champions.

"There are two points at risk for each team and it's the start of the season ... I think everyone will be wanting to see the actual games themselves and no one will get bored."

The Warriors have begun marketing the "Battle of Eden" that sees them line out against an Eels side guided by Kiwis coach Steve Kearney for the first time.

Scurrah said a crowd of 25,000 would be "acceptable" but believes they can attract more than that.

"We are trying to nudge the all time record for the Warriors regular season which was about 32,000 in the first-ever game (against the Brisbane Broncos at Mt Smart). It would be great to have our record crowd at such a great venue."

The Warriors continue their preseason buildup with a match against the Burleigh Bears in Whangarei tomorrow. They have their final trial against Manly at North Harbour Stadium the following weekend.

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