Warriors boss open-minded on Eden Park return

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 16/03/2011

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Warriors boss Wayne Scurrah is open-minded to a possible return to Eden Park but says club members will have a say in whether that happens.

As a business exercise the season-opener at Auckland's traditional rugby headquarters was a stunning success with the Warriors drawing a club record 38,412 for their clash with the Eels.

It was the biggest crowd of the opening round, which drew a record 201,212 fans across eight matches – smashing the previous NRL record of 185,051 set in 2007.

But the Warriors' poor 18-24 loss added to the graveyard feel of the ground for rugby league, following heavy New Zealand defeats there in tests against Australia.

Naturally disappointed with the outcome of the match, Scurrah felt that was secondary to the occasion and he was thrilled for the sport to make amends at Eden Park after the disgraceful scenes there during the Four Nations league test last November.

"It was an absolutely fabulous crowd, the behaviour overall was good. I guess you could say we were seven points from a perfect night," said Scurrah, the Warriors chief executive.

"To break our record was fantastic and with that sort of crowd it has worked out financially pretty well. Where we go from here? We always said we were committed for just the one game and we will sit back and observe it for the future. We will take a bit of feedback from members, from Eden Park and the residents' group."

The Warriors' financial machine will see Eden Park as a viable alternative to Mt Smart Stadium (capacity 27,000, with the ability for temporary seating) for special occasions.

The Rugby World Cup will rule that out this year.

Coach Ivan Cleary has kept his changes to a minimum as the Warriors look to atone for their sloppy NRL opening, bringing in Krisnan Inu and Isaac John for Saturday's clash with the Wests Tigers in Sydney.

Inu replaces left wing from Manu Vatuvei who is out for eight weeks after injuring his knee in the 24-18 loss to Parramatta at Eden Park last weekend.

John comes in to cover the absence of the suspended James Maloney, who sits out a week for his charge on Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne.

WARRIORS

Lance Hohaia, Glen Fisiiahi, Joel Moon, Jerome Ropati, Krisnan Inu, Isaac John, Brett Seymour, Sam Rapira, Aaron Heremaia, Russell Packer, Simon Mannering (c), Feleti Mateo, Micheal Luck. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Jacob Lillyman, Ben Matulino, Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore.

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