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Manu Vatuvei on his way to scoring.Raiders v Warriors NRL rugby league match at GIO Stadium, Canberra Australia. Sunday 15 March 2015. Photo: Paul Seiser/

Vodafone Warriors players across the club’s NRL, New South Wales and NYC squads will have reason to pause to remember where the game started for them as the junior rugby league community is celebrated with this week’s PlayNRL Round.

The Vodafone Warriors will play their part in the promotion when they stage a tripleheader at Mount Smart Stadium tomorrow to launch their home programme in their 20th anniversary season.


The schedule will start with the Vodafone Junior Warriors facing the Parramatta Eels (12.45pm kick-off), followed by the club’s NSW Cup side meeting Wentworthville (2.45pm) and then the third-round NRL clash between the Vodafone Warriors and the Eels (5.00pm).

The core purpose of the round is to promote grass roots rugby league and encourage children and families to get involved in the game.

There will be a junior rugby league flavour across the Vodafone Warriors’ game day activities.

One feature will be a dedicated area in the West Stand set aside for more than 1500 members from Auckland clubs, the tickets provided by the Vodafone Warriors and the NRL with support from the Akarana and Counties Manukau zones.

The popular mini mod games will involve Hibiscus Coast, Otahuhu, Northcote and Mangere East, four clubs which all have current players in the Vodafone Warriors’ three teams and can also point to others they have produced in the club’s first 20 years.

The players in the four mini mod teams will also have the special experience of providing a guard of honour as the Vodafone Warriors emerge from the East Stand tunnel for the main game.

There will also be regular in-game promotion including big screen messages promoting junior links. The theme brings into focus the small beginnings for the players who now wear the Vodafone Warriors’ colours at NRL, NSW Cup and NYC level.

The NRL squad members and those who have appeared for NSW Cup and NYC sides in the first two rounds of the season can trace their origins to a collection of more than 30 clubs spread throughout New Zealand, New South Wales and Queensland plus England in Sam Tomkins’ case (Wigan St Patrick’s).

Only two clubs can claim to have more than one former junior player turning out for the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL side tomorrow – the Otara Scorpions with veteran wing Manu Vatuvei and rookie prop Sam Lisone as well as the Te Aroha Eels in Lower Hutt who boast Ben Matulino and captain Simon Mannering, although Mannering’s links were brief.

Otara can also claim 2014 Kiwi hooker Siliva Havili as well as the legendary Ruben Wiki, an 87-game Vodafone Warrior now on the club’s football staff.

The Mangere East Hawks have been the most prolific producer of players currently involved with the three teams.

Here’s a breakdown of the players’ junior clubs (in a few instances players lay claim to two clubs):

Bay Roskill Vikings | Ben Henry, Sione Lousi

Campbelltown Collegians | Ryan Hoffman

Ellerslie Eagles | Glen Fisiiahi

Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School | Matt Allwood

Feilding Falcons | Ngani Laumape

Glenora Bears | Amoni Tufui, Nathaniel Peteru

Hibiscus Coast Raiders | Shaun Johnson

Howick Hornets | Solomone Kata, Marata Niukore

Hukanui | Sam Rapira

Mangere East Hawks | Sebastine Ikahihifo, Tamati Ioane-Niko, Viliami Kaveinga, Stedman Lefau, Ofahiki Ogden, Dominique Peyroux, Upu Poching, Jarrod Tua, Paul Tuli, Semisi Tyrell, Albert Vete

Manurewa Marlins | Erin Clark

Marist Saints | David Fusitu’a, Mason Lino, Tuimoala Lolohea

Mount Albert Lions | Konrad Hurrell, Suaia Matagi, Nathaniel Roache, Zac Tippins

Northcote Tigers | David Bhana, Sam Cook

Northern Bulldogs | Sheldon Pitama

Northern Lake Warriors | Jonathan Wright

Otahuhu Leopards | George Carmont, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Stedman Lefau, Dominique Peyroux, Wesley Tauti

Otara Scorpions | Siliva Havili, Sam Lisone, Willie Peace, Manu Vatuvei

Pacific Sharks | Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano

Pakuranga Jaguars | Brad Abbey, Tomas Aoake, Ata Hingano, Herman Retzlaff

Papakura Sea Eagles | James Bell, Jazz Tevaga, Roman Tuhimata

Papatoetoe Panthers | Thomas Leuluai, Ken Maumalo

Point Chevalier Pirates | Bunty Afoa, Erin Clark, Tualima Tualima

Porirua Vikings | Paul Ulberg

Richmond Rovers | Brad Abbey, Tomas Aoake, Sione Lousi, Daniel Palavi, John Palavi, Toafofoa Sipley, Saula Solomona

Richmond Tigers | Jacob Lillyman

Taupo Phoenix | Matiu Love-Henry

Tauranga Sharks | Bodene Thompson

Te Atatu Roosters | Suaia Matagi

Te Aroha Eels | Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Api Pewhairangi

University Hunters | Charlie Gubb

Yarrawarrah Tigers | Chad Townsend

Wests Juniors | Nathan Friend

Wigan St Patrick’s | Sam Tomkins

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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