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Try time for Manu Vatuvei in the Vodafone Warriors' clash against the Bulldogs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington this year. Now the two sides will face off at Eden Park in 2014. Photo: Photosport

Canterbury-Bankstown will be one of the Vodafone Warriors Eden Park opponents for their three NRL home games at New Zealands biggest stadium next year.

Ahead of the full 2014 draw being released tomorrow (Wednesday) it will be announced at 1.00pm NZT the Vodafone Warriors can tonight exclusively reveal one of their 12 home games will be a sixth-round encounter against the beaten 2012 NRL grand finalists at Eden Park on Sunday, April 13 (4.00pm kick-off NZT).

Rugby league fans are able to cash in on the Vodafone Warriors' three-game season at Eden with the newly-introduced Eden Park membership which provides tickets to the three games for the price of two.


The only contest between the Vodafone Warriors and the Des Hasler-coached Bulldogs in 2013 was the 'Capital Clash at Wellingtons Westpac Stadium, the first time the Vodafone Warriors had played a home game outside Auckland.

We couldnt be happier knowing the Bulldogs will be one of the clubs we host at Eden Park, said Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah.

We havent played them in Auckland since 2012 and theyve always been a big draw card for our members and fans so it's perfect playing them at Eden Park. Weve had some great games against them throughout the clubs history and this is sure to be another.

Head coach Matt Elliott was equally excited about the prospect.

In Des (Hasler) the Bulldogs have one of the games top coaches and they also have a roster full of quality players, he said.

Theyre a side you always look forward to playing against and one the members and fans love as well. We should have a great crowd along to support the boys for this one.

While the Bulldogs will join the other 15 clubs for the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park on February 15 and 16, the April 13 contest will be their first NRL game at the venue although not the first experience playing there for some of the clubs players. Tony Williams was in the side Manly fielded against the Vodafone Warriors at Eden Park in 2012; Frank Pritchard was in the Kiwi side for the 2012 Anzac Test there; he and Greg Eastwood both lined up for the Kiwis against Australia at Eden Park in the 2010 Four Nations; and James Graham appeared for England against Papua New Guinea that day as well.

Aside from Pritchard and Eastwood, the Bulldogs boast Kiwi Rugby League World Cup team-mates Sam Kasiano and Krisnan Inu plus former Kiwi wing Sam Perrett. Also in the 2014 group is centre Josh Morris from Australias 2013 RLWC-winning squad.

Other Canterbury-Bankstown RLWC representatives are Graham, Reni Maitua (Toa Samoa), Tim Lafai (Toa Samoa) and Drury Low (Cook Islands). Also in the squad are the likes of Michael Ennis, Aiden Tolman, Josh Reynolds and ex-Kiwi Chase Stanley.

Theres another New Zealand connection at the Bulldogs in chief executive Raelene Castle, daughter of former New Zealand internationals Bruce (rugby league) and Marlene (bowls). Raelene Castle previously headed up Netball New Zealand.

It was confirmed in early October that the Vodafone Warriors would play three home games at Eden Park in 2014 after staging one-off games there in 2011 (Parramatta), 2012 (Manly) and 2013 (Sydney Roosters). The first three visits there attracted average crowds of 36,000.
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