The New Zealand Warriors (formerly known as the Auckland Warriors) are a professional rugby league football club based in Auckland, New Zealand. They compete in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership and are the League's only team from outside Australia. Currently coached by Stephen Kearney and captained by Ryan Hoffman, the Warriors are based at Mt Smart Stadium in the central south Auckland suburb of Penrose.
For the 1995 season the newly formed Auckland Warriors became the first off-shore club to be admitted to the Australian Rugby League's premiership when it expanded from 16 to 20 teams. As a result of the Super League war in the mid-1990s, Auckland left the ARL to compete in the Super League competition of 1997, before joining the re-unified NRL during the following year. They re-branded themselves the New Zealand Warriors in 2001. Over 21 seasons the Warriors have claimed one minor premiership (in 2002), reached two grand finals (2002 and 2011), reached the play-offs 7 tim
Rugby league was largely centred around Auckland ever since the New Zealand Rugby League was founded in 1909. Auckland produced the bulk of the international squad for many years, and most of these players headed to either Australia or Great Britain to play.
The Auckland representative side was consistently providing top opposition to touring teams. An Auckland team was admitted into the mid-week ARL Amco Cup competition in 1978. In their first year they made the semi-finals, and were defeated by the overall competition winners, Eastern Suburbs. They remained into the competition until the early 1980s. In 1987, an Auckland side toured Great Britain and claimed wins over powerhouse clubs Leeds and Wigan.
In 1988, serious investigation into an Auckland team entering the New South Wales Rugby League premiership commenced, encouraged mainly by the Mt Albert club. On 17 May 1992, the announcement stating an Auckland-based team's entry into the Australian Rugby League competition, the Winfield Cup in 1995, was made. This followed very good turnouts to a number of NSWRL club games played in Auckland. The new team was to be called the Auckland Warriors and run by the Auckland Rugby League organisation. The original colours selected were blue, white, red and green. Blue and white are recognised as the colours of Auckland, while red and green were the colours of the Warriors' original sponsor, DB Bitter. The original logo was designed by Francis Allan, of Colenso.