Vodafone Warriors members and fans will have an unprecedented chance of seeing the club’s biggest NRL names in action in suburban Auckland on Saturday.
After playing NRL trials in Toowoomba and Rotorua over the past fortnight, the Vodafone Warriors will be on show at Papakura’s Bruce Pulman Park for their final preseason hit-out before kicking off their 2015 campaign against Newcastle on Saturday, March 7 (6.30pm kick-off NZT).
McFadden will line up his NRL squad against a Stacey Jones-coached New South Wales Cup team (3.00pm kick-off) while there will also be a trial between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and a Vodafone Warriors selection (12.30pm kick-off).
The Vodafone Warriors fielded their best available side in last Saturday’s 18-4 win against the Penrith Panthers with Sam Tomkins, Shaun Johnson, Ben Matulino, Thomas Leuluai and Sam Rapira joined by new signings Ryan Hoffman, Bodene Thompson and Matt Allwood as well as established first graders Chad Townsend, Ngani Laumape, Sione Lousi and Suaia Matagi.
McFadden said he is committed to using a strong line-up again this Saturday. Back in contention will be Manu Vatuvei and Nathan Friend who were both on NRL All Stars duty last week while captain Simon Mannering, Jacob Lillyman and Konrad Hurrell could also be involved after missing the Rotorua trial.
New signing Jonathan Wright is another set to play; he had his first outing for the club in the New South Wales Cup side in an in-house trial against the Vodafone Junior Warriors at the Luke Tipene Celebration Day in Glen Eden yesterday.
“We’re still finalising the absolute detail on how we will run the trial on Saturday but it will be a really solid hit-out,” said McFadden.
“We’ll certainly have a full-strength squad and there’ll be plenty of contact.
“It’s a fantastic chance for members and fans to see our teams in action at a suburban ground. It’s exciting for us.”
After wearing the ‘Zion’ training strip in the trials against Gold Coast and Penrith, the NRL side will don the ‘Anarchy’ training kit at Papakura. ‘Zion’ and ‘Anarchy’ have been designed for trials only and will be put to use as training jerseys after this weekend.
While the day will be vital for the NRL, NSW Cup and NYC sides, it doubles as a community carnival for the club.
A full range of activities will be on offer for kids while there’ll also be a chance for members and fans to get up close and personal with their favourite players. As they did after the trial in Rotorua on Saturday, the players will go around the ground signing autographs and meeting members and fans after their hit-out.
There’ll be a sponsor and community activation area with Smile Dealers on location to take photos of members and fans.
Counties Manukau Rugby League will be on site registering players for the 2015 season.
Entry will be via a gold coin collection helping to support the Counties-Manukau Rugby League's development and representative programmes.
This will be the Vodafone Warriors’ third major community undertaking in the past week.
The club was out in force in Rotorua last week in the build-up to the trial against Penrith. Vodafone Warriors greats Jerome Ropati and Ruben Wiki were joined by current players Glen Fisiiahi, Charlie Gubb and Siliva Havili for a programme of activities including meeting close to 5000 pupils at 12 schools in the region.
The Vodafone Warriors also had a major involvement in the Luke Tipene Celebration Day at Glen Eden yesterday, fielding four teams in three games which formed the centrepiece of a day when the rugby league community honoured young Luke who had his life taken early on November 1 last year. A number of Vodafone Warriors players not involved in the matches were on hand during the day while club staff members were heavily involved working with the Glenora Rugby League Club, the Akarana Zone, the Auckland Rugby League and the New Zealand Rugby League in helping to stage the event.
- Entry and car parking will be via Gate B at 138 Walters Road.
VODAFONE WARRIORS – COMMUNITY DAY
Saturday, February 21
Bruce Pulman Park
138 Walters Road
12.30pm | Vodafone Junior Warriors v Vodafone Warriors Selection
3.00pm | Vodafone Warriors (NRL) v Vodafone Warriors (NSW Cup)