Vodafone Warriors players and staff will take on a training assignment with a real point of difference on Saturday The Taniwha.


A group of 19 players and nine staff will join more than 1000 contestants taking on trails along the Waikato River in what will be a long day.


After a three-hour bus drive to the central North Island town of Mangakino, 22 of the group will start in a 14km run while six will take on a 21km mountain bike ride through some demanding terrain.


Making its debut last year, The Taniwha is run by Auckland-based Total Sport in association with the Waikato River Trails Trust and Vodafone Warriors charity partner Shine.


Covering trails, most of them on previously inaccessible land along the Waikato River, The Taniwha is hailed as an epic point to point event that offers individuals and teams of all ages, abilities and levels of fitness, the opportunity to run/walk or mountain bike these amazing trails in a major participation event.


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The experience will build on a varied programme the Vodafone Warriors reduced squad has already endured since beginning offseason training last week.


After team-oriented challenges in the gym and skill-based training games last week they finished up with a dragon boat racing session at Westhaven Marina on Saturday before starting this weeks schedule in the pool at Panmure today. Tomorrow morning they face a gruelling session at Ludus Magnus.


Of the clubs confirmed 2014 NRL squad, 14 are involved in the World Cup:


Kiwis: Simon Mannering, Kevin Locke, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson and Ben Matulino

Mate Maa Tonga: Glen Fisiiahi, Konrad Hurrell and Siliva Havili

Toa Samoa: Pita Godinet and Suaia Matagi

Cook Islands: Dominique Peyroux

Fiji: Jayson Bukuya

England: Sam Tomkins


The World Cup players wont be back training until mid-January ahead of the February trials and the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park on February 15 and 16.


New signing Chad Townsend started with the Vodafone Warriors today after his break following the Cronulla Sharks New South Wales Cup grand final victory.


As well as contracted NRL players, the Vodafone Warriors initial training squad includes St Pauls College pupil Brad Abbey and a group of 2013 Vodafone Junior Warriors Abraham Papalii, Solomone Kata and Sam Lisone plus David Bhana, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Albert Vete; Bhana, Faitala-Mariner and Vete are all now on fulltime NRL contracts along with Siliva Havili, who is still with Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup.


Making the trip to Mangakino for The Taniwha will be Brad Abbey, Nathan Friend, Charlie Gubb, Ben Henry, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Solomone Kata, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Lisone, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo, Dane Nielsen, John Palavi, Abraham Papalii, Nathaniel Peteru, Jerome Ropati, Chad Townsend, Carlos Tuimavave, Albert Vete.


Staff participating: Matt Elliott, Dan Floyd, Ricky Henry, Carl Jennings, Andrew McFadden, Brad Morris, Adam Sadler, Rohan Smith, Ruben Wiki.