NRL football is heading to the Deep South for the second year running with the Vodafone Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos today confirming they will meet in a preseason clash at Dunedins Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday, February 23 next year (3.00pm kick-off).
The Trans-Tasman showdown follows this years highly-successful encounter on exactly the same date, the first time any NRL game had ever been played in the Otago provinces main centre.
As was the case for this years historic contest, both sides will field their strongest available squads for their final hit-outs less than two weeks out from the start of the 2014 NRL season.
Darren Burden, chief executive, Dunedin Venues said it was exciting to welcome the Vodafone Warriors and Broncos back to Dunedin after such a successful first visit.
We know there is clearly an appetite for rugby league in the south so its great news that the teams want to come back to Dunedin and play under cover at Forsyth Barr Stadium, he said.
The city is fast gaining a solid reputation for hosting a large variety of events and Dunedin Venues is working hard to ensure we keep attracting top quality events to our region.
I am sure the teams will be well supported when they arrive in February and well all be treated to a game of fast and physical rugby league.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott said the match represented an ideal opportunity to showcase NRL football in the region once again.
It was clear to us that the locals loved seeing some of the NRLs best players when we were there this year and we welcome the chance of playing in front of another big crowd in February, he said.
Its a fantastic venue, a great experience for the players being able to player under a roof and its also a really significant game being the final trial before the season starts.
Well again be looking for a strong performance so were in the best possible shape we can be for the 2014 season. Theres a long way to go yet with another trial before it as well as the first NRL Auckland Nines (February 15-16) but I can assure people in the south that were excited about being down there again. Its a great part of the country.
Terry Reader, Brisbanes general manager of marketing and commercial operations, said the club was delighted about the prospect of another clash with the Vodafone Warriors in Dunedin.
This years game was a huge success on all fronts, he said.
We were really thrilled with the way the locals supported this years event which gave rugby league a tremendous boost. We were also highly impressed with the stadium and the work Dunedin Venues did to make the occasion such a success.
When the two traditional rivals met this year the Vodafone Warriors beat the Broncos 16-10, the teams attracted a big crowd of 15,345 the night after the Highlanders and the Chiefs had opened rugby unions 2013 Super 15 season at the same venue. The Highlanders will again provide the lead-in to the NRL experience next year when they take on the Blues at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, February 22.
The NRL match will show off a vast array of the games biggest names including many who have been involved in the Rugby League World Cup. On the latter score the Vodafone Warriors have Kevin Locke, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering and Ben Matulino playing for the Kiwis while others on duty have been Toa Samoas Pita Godinet and Suaia Matagi, Mate Maa Tongas Konrad Hurrell, Glen Fisiiahi and Siliva Havili and Dominique Peyroux (Cook Islands) plus new signings Sam Tomkins (England) and Jayson Bukuya (Fiji). Also in the clubs 2014 squad are ex-Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend as well as Nathan Friend, Charlie Gubb, Ben Henry, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Ngani Laumape, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, Feleti Mateo, Dane Nielsen, John Palavi, Nathaniel Peteru, Sam Rapira, Jerome Ropati and Carlos Tuimavave plus promoted NYC players David Bhana, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Albert Vete.
Brisbanes World Cup representatives in line to play in Dunedin are Kiwi internationals Josh Hoffman and Alex Glenn, Australias Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker and new signing Daniel Vidot (Toa Samoa) while its 2014 roster includes Justin Hodges, Matt Gillett, Ben Hannant, Jack Reed, Ben Hunt, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, David Stagg, Jharal Yow Yeh and new signings Ben Barba, Martin Kennedy and Todd Lowrie, who ironically lined up for the Vodafone Warriors against the Broncos in the 2013 trial.
Meanwhile, its possible the Forsyth Barr Stadium match will again be televised live on SKY Sport in New Zealand and Fox Sports in Australia.
Tickets will go on public sale from December 09 via Ticket Direct CLICK HERE
Therell be a special pre-sale and discounted offer for Vodafone Warriors, Brisbane and Forsyth Barr Stadium members