The Warriors have been voted the third "coolest" team in the NRL behind only the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, according to results of a research survey completed by Gemba Group.
Australasian company Gemba Group, which works as a management and marketing consultancy in the sports, media and entertainment industries, and counts the likes of Sport NZ, New Zealand Cricket and Puma as clients, undertook a survey in April to determine the awareness and likeability of a variety of sports teams and athletes.
A total of 1500 people, aged between 16 to 64, and split evenly between males and females, throughout all regions of Australia took part.
And while the champion Storm and Bronco outfits naturally delivered showings as strong as their on-field results in the questions relating to the NRL, the Warriors also surprisingly featured highly in a host of categories.
Despite being based in Auckland, the success of the New Zealand franchise in recent seasons appears to have struck a chord with Aussie sports fans.
They are, according to the Gemba report, now considered by Australians to be the fourth most popular sports team in the NRL.
They are also rated as one of the most successful teams in the competition, are seen as inspiring, on the way up, exciting and boast integrity.
Coach Brian McClennan's team is also viewed as innovative, modern, cool and down to earth.
"I think it's great and being seen as a top-of-the-line team is about being present and contemporary," Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah said.
"Being cool means that you are considered fashionable and while staying fashionable is a big challenge, it's wonderful to see that a New Zealand-based team has scored highly in Australia.
"This also opens up a lot of opportunities within the Australian market as well."
On the flipside, however, the Warriors were associated with exclusivity by six per cent of fans and dubbed arrogant by 10 per cent, putting them inside the top five in both unwanted categories.
"We certainly don't intend to come across as arrogant. Understanding what fans mean when they say we are is something we'd like to do," Scurrah said.
"Maybe what's linked to arrogance is that we are seen as inaccessible because we are only in Australia for short periods of time. Perhaps that's what it relates to.
"We probably need to look at opportunities that make us more accessible in Australia to dispel that opinion, because our club is certainly not an arrogant club."
From regions across Australia, including AFL-mad Melbourne and Perth, 67 per cent of surveyed participants knew who the Warriors were, with 12 per cent of those dubbing them their favourite team.
The Warriors were also rated eighth overall in the NRL for the power of their brand – ahead of the Titans, Knights, Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters and Raiders.
Of the other teams in the competition, the Storm, unsurprisingly given the salary cap scandal in 2010, were considered the most deceptive, but also rated highly for having integrity.
"One of the big things that we are aware of is that our support from fans away from home is growing," Scurrah said.
"We've really noticed in the last two or three seasons that our brand is growing and that we are getting a real Kiwi presence at games in Australia.
"In some cases, it looks like we've got the support of half the crowd."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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