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The Vodafone Warriors have expanded their open NYC trials programme this year by staging a second event in Whanganui in their search for more untapped talent to join the club’s development system.

The Whanganui event has been confirmed for Cooks Gardens on Sunday, October 18 a week after the traditional Auckland trial run over two days at Cornwall Park on October 10 and 11.

“We’ve always attracted a lot of interest from out of Auckland especially from the lower North Island,” said Vodafone Warriors academy and pathways manager Duane Mann.

“By holding a trial in Whanganui it will be a lot easier for people from the lower half of the North Island and also the top of the South Island to be involved.

“It’s hugely exciting for us to be able to take a trial to Whanganui and we’re really grateful for the enthusiasm shown by the Mid Central Zone.

“Our aim is to give as many athletes as possible the opportunity to trial. While we have a scouting network which identifies most of talent, our open trial concept has also been hugely beneficial in giving us a look at other contenders.”

Three of this year’s NYC regulars – wings Tomas Aoake and Paul Ulberg plus loose forward Jazz Tevaga – ultimately gained contracts through their performances at the club’s NYC trial.

Mann said the athletes in focus for this year’s Auckland and Whanganui events would be high-achieving rugby league and rugby union players born in 1996, 1997 and 1998, making them potentially eligible for the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 2016 squad.

“Last year we had a massive level of interest with more than 500 registrations which we then reduced to a manageable level,” said Mann.

“By having two trials we’ll be able to offer an opportunity to a wider group of players.”

Mann said the Vodafone Warriors were working closely with Mid Central Zone general manager Lisa Rewiti and her team on the Whanganui trial. The Mid Central Zone takes in the Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and Manawatu districts as well as Whanganui.

Vodafone Warriors-bound hooker Issac Luke hails from Hawera, fellow Kiwi international Tohu Harris from Hawke’s Bay and Russell Packer from Foxton while Brisbane’s Kodi and Jayden Nikorima were born in Palmerston North.     

Players from Taupo south are encouraged to register for the Whanganui trial; this includes Taupo, Whanganui, Taranaki, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Poverty Bay, Horowhenua, Wairarapa, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

For the Auckland trial, players registering should principally come from north of Taupo (Bay of Plenty, Waikato, King Country, Thames Valley, the greater Auckland area and Northland.

Key points:

  • Registrations of interest are open now for players wishing to trial in Whanganui and on the first day of the Auckland trial; those selected will be notified whether they have been given an opportunity to trial.
  • Selected players from Saturday’s games in Auckland will be invited back to a closed trial on Sunday (along with some pre-selected players).
  • Nine-a-side games will be used in the trial in Whanganui and on the first day in Auckland.



Cornwall Park, Auckland

Saturday, October 10

Registration: From 9.00am

Games:  From 10.00am

Some players will be selected to play again Sunday

Sunday, October 11

Selected players from Saturday and pre-selected players

Assemble: 10.00am




Cooks Gardens, Whanganui

Sunday, October 18

Registration: From 9.00am

Games: From 10.00am


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