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Long-haul Perth trip no issue for Warriors

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/06/2017 Angelo Risso

It's the journey no other NRL side has to take - yet Warriors boss Stephen Kearney says his troops are relishing the challenge of crossing both the Tasman and Nullarbor to take on Manly.

The Sea Eagles have scheduled Saturday's round-17 "home" fixture in Perth, a full 5350 kilometres away from the Warriors' Auckland base.

By comparison, a trip from Manly's Sydney home to Jakarta would be only marginally further at 5500 kilometres - and wouldn't require a flight stopover.

Despite being considerably more arduous than any other regular-season journey - Townsville to Auckland is currently the furthest at 3350 kilometres - it's a familiar trip for many Australian and Kiwi sporting sides.

The Wellington Phoenix travel to Perth at least once a year for their A-League "distance derby" with the Glory, while Kiwi Super Rugby franchises have typically made an annual trip to play the Western Force.

The New Zealand Breakers also play the Perth Wildcats, one of their greatest rivals, on a regular basis in the Australian NBL competition.

Nor is it virgin territory for the Warriors themselves, who have played by the Swan River each year for the past five years - losing each time.

Since their 1995 inception, the Warriors have made the trip to Perth eight times, all "away" fixtures, without a single NRL point to show for it.

Kearney was nevertheless undaunted.

"We understand - there are a fair few Kiwis over there in Perth, it's a bit like playing at Mount Smart Stadium, a bit like on the Gold Coast a couple weeks ago," Kearney told reporters on Wednesday.

"We understand, from Manly's point of view, that it's positive for them to get a good crowd there - it's not an issue on our part.

"The focus is purely on making sure we prepare well."

Club stalwart Simon Mannering, who has travelled to Perth in four of the past five seasons, said the 10th-placed Warriors would treat it like any other away trip - despite crossing four time zones to get there.

Small perks, like flying business class, made travel all the more enjoyable.

"There are a lot of supporters over there for us, so obviously the poor form in previous years has disappointed us," the Warriors vice-captain said.

"Perth doesn't get a hell of a lot of games over there, so when they do, (the fans) are really behind us."

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