Rob Cross believes that the home challenge will be stronger than ever in the 2019 NZ Darts Masters, presented by Burger King & TAB.

The 2018 World Champion is aiming to claim his second World Series title this weekend at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena, which is hosting the World Series for the first time.

Cross, last year's Brisbane Darts Masters winner, is one of the top PDC stars lining up in a 16-player field which includes five New Zealanders.

Whilst Cody Harris has spearheaded New Zealand's challenge on the world stage by basing himself in the UK, Haupai Puha and Ben Robb have emerged on the domestic DPNZ circuit in the past 18 months.

In addition, Craig Caldwell and Warren Parry have gained big-stage experience within the PDC.

Cross, who meets Parry in Friday's first round in Hamilton, feels that the nation is ready to challenge for top honours.

"Everything seems to be getting stronger and the standard is going up, so I don't see why we can't see why we won't have a New Zealand finalist this week," Cross told Newshub. 

"Cody Harris is always dangerous and there is no reason why he can't go all the way."

Cross made his World Series of Darts debut in 2018, which included a first visit to Auckland, and the Hastings ace added: "It's great to be back.

"I've had a great trip during the World Series and it's fantastic being back in New Zealand.

"When I turned up here last year... I'd never been on such a long flight. I'm much calmer this year and I'm ready to see more of this beautiful place.

"We came in on Sunday and wandered around Auckland. There are some nice people here, great restaurants, and places to go walking and explore."

The 2019 NZ Darts Masters will take place at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on August 23-24 with a limited number of tickets still available via this link.

The event will be broadcast worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners, as well as via PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers (outside of the UK, Ireland & Netherlands).

UK TV coverage on ITV4 will be from 7pm BST on each day.

2019 NZ Darts Masters, presented by Burger King & TAB
Draw Bracket

(1) Peter Wright v Damon Heta
James Wade v Craig Caldwell
(4) Daryl Gurney v David Platt
Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris
(2) Michael van Gerwen v Kyle Anderson
Gary Anderson v Haupai Puha
(3) Rob Cross v Warren Parry
Simon Whitlock v Ben Robb

Schedule of Play
Friday, August 23 (1800 local time)

James Wade v Craig Caldwell
Simon Whitlock v Ben Robb
Daryl Gurney v David Platt
Rob Cross v Warren Parry
Gary Anderson v Haupai Puha
Peter Wright v Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen v Kyle Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris
Best of 11 legs

Saturday, August 24 (1800 local time)
Quarter-Finals
Semi-Finals
Final
All best of 15 legs