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Captain Simon Mannering plus team-mates Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati and Konrad Hurrell will break from their preseason training programmes for a trailblazing Vodafone Warriors community tour to Samoa and Tonga next week.

Mannering and Ropati will leave next Wednesday (January 30) to spend time in storm-ravaged Samoa while Vatuvei and Hurrell will depart on February 2 for their native Tonga.

Being staged in conjunction with the NRLs 2013 preseason community carnival, the January 30-February 6 Pacific initiative is a first for the Vodafone Warriors as they seek to promote both the club and rugby league as a whole in the two island nations.

We have such a strong affinity with both countries with so many of the clubs players past and present being of Samoan or Tongan extraction, said Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah.

This is an opportunity for us to give something back to these countries. Its also a chance to build interest in what is a huge year for rugby league with Samoa and Tonga both competing at the 2013 World Cup in the United Kingdom.

Scurrah said the trip to Samoa had become particularly significant.

Since we started planning the tour, the people of Samoa have suffered terribly through Cyclone Evan, he said.

By visiting them next week we hope were able to provide some cheer after such a difficult time. We just want to do whatever we can to help to lift spirits.

Mannering and Ropati, two of the most experienced players on the Vodafone Warriors 2013 NRL roster, are scheduled to fly out to Samoa with the clubs delegation tomorrow week (Wednesday, January 30).

Vodafone Warriors chairman Bill Wavish and Scurrah will also be on tour as will three of the clubs most illustrious former players Dean Bell (general manager football operations), Stacey Jones (junior recruitment and pathways coach) and Ruben Wiki (strength and conditioning coach).

While Mannering and Ropati will return home on February 2, the main Vodafone Warriors party will head directly to Tonga where they will be joined by Vatuvei, Hurrell and other staff on the same day.

Hurrell, born in the village of Tofoa, will be making another homecoming having made trips back to Tonga in the off-season and during the Christmas-New Year break; Auckland-born Vatuvei also visits family in Tonga whenever he can.

On both visits, the Vodafone Warriors will mix official functions with carnivals at both primary and secondary schools.

Vodafone Warriors community manager Petrece Kesha said the carnivals would feature Backyard League sessions and position specific drills.

Well also have signing sessions, therell be giveaways including our new NRL team posters and the locals will be able to mix with the players for autographs and photos, she said.

The Vodafone Warriors will also stage community carnival events around their NRL trials against Penrith in Hamilton on Saturday, February 16 (4.00pm kick-off) and Brisbane in Dunedin on Saturday, February 23 (7.30pm kick-off).

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Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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