Pacific tour: Next stop Tonga

Rugby league islands-style ... the game goes on with the players oblivious as a canine visitor strolls across the field in a trial at Friday's community carnival on the last day of the Vodafone Warriors' visit to Samoa.




The Vodafone Warriors eight-day Pacific tour now moves to Tonga after a highly successful visit to Samoa.


Vodafone Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei, centre Konrad Hurrell and Vodafone Junior Warriors prop Albert Vete all of Tongan heritage plus general manager football operations Dean Bell left Auckland for Tonga this afternoon.


Theyll link up there with five of the original 10-strong party including chairman Bill Wavish who flew out of Samoa earlier today.


Chief executive Wayne Scurrah, senior players Simon Mannering and Jerome Ropati plus strength and conditioning coach Ruben Wiki and junior recruitment and pathways coach Stacey Jones returned home early this morning from their stint in Samoa.


We couldnt be happier with the way the visit went in Samoa, said Vodafone Warriors community manager Petrece Kesha.


While the weather had an impact both days it didnt affect us achieving our goal of interacting with the hundreds of kids and giving them a taste of what the Vodafone Warriors and rugby league are all about.


The contingent in Tonga will attend church with locals tomorrow before spreading the rugby league word on Monday and Tuesday with a school blitz and a community carnival.


The visit to Samoa finished with another official dinner last night hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.


Earlier in the day rain, thunder and lightning prevailed during the community carnival attended by six schools including the host school Pesega College.


Apart from skill-based activities, the feature events of the carnival were an under-16 trial and an under-18 trial (one team in each trial wore Vodafone Warriors jerseys). During one of the games, in true islands-style, a dog walked across the field between the players.


While the final trial was being played Wiki, Mannering and Ropati ran more activities in the rain with the younger students, Wiki delighting them at one point when he slid in the giant puddles and danced Gangnam Style with Peace Chapel Primary School students.


At the end of the day Jones, Wiki, Mannering and Ropati provided some tips and ran through some skill-based drills with the young players. They were impressed with the locals physical maturity and raw talent.