Tuimoala Lolohea, NRL Rookie of the Year. Vodafone Warriors 21st Annual Awards, Sky City Auckland, Tuesday 15th September 2015. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.photosport.nz

The Vodafone Warriors will be in attendance when the NRL’s grand final week kicks off with the annual Dally M Awards in Sydney tonight.

The club will be represented by departing Vodafone Warriors hooker Nathan Friend and utility Tuimoala Lolohea plus Vodafone Warriors ambassador Sir Peter Leitch, managing director Jim Doyle and assistant coach Andrew Webster.

Lolohea, who won the Vodafone NRL Rookie of the Year at the Vodafone Warriors’ awards, is in contention for the Dally M Rookie of the Year after a season in which he played in 23 of the club’s 24 games scoring 11 tries. During the season he was used at fullback, on the wing, in the centres and in the halves.

Later in the week Vodafone Warriors Manu Vatuvei and Konrad Hurrell will be involved in grand final week events while Sir Peter Leitch is also hosting a reunion to mark the 10th anniversary of the Kiwis winning the 2005 Tri Nations title when they beat the Kangaroos 24-0 in Leeds. Of the players in the squad, Ali Lauitiiti is making the trip from England and Shontayne Hape is travelling from France while others from New Zealand and Australia are also gathering including coach Brian McClennan and captain Ruben Wiki.

Sir Peter has also issued an invitation to all former Kiwi internationals and staff to attend the reunion. Those interested must register with pat.c@aucklandleague.co.nz

Tonight’s red carpet night of nights is the forerunner to a week featuring a range of historic firsts, activities and events, including the inaugural launch of NRL Nation, a free interactive fan experience at Darling Harbour.
 
This follows sell-out crowds for the two NRL preliminary finals last weekend which has seen two Queensland sides progress to the grand final – Brisbane and North Queensland – in a historic first for the game.
 
The NRL is on track to record its highest attended finals series since 2009 and second highest ever.
 
Celebrations for grand final week include:

  • Dally M Awards at The Star on Monday night;
  • The announcement of the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final teams and referees;
  • Launch of NRL Nation, an interactive fan site at Darling Harbour, on Thursday with a special appearance from the two Grand Final Teams and Cold Chisel;
  • NRL Nation runs through to Saturday with loads of free entertainment, player and legend appearances and activities;
  • Channel Nine’s Grand Final Footy Show in front of thousands of fans live from the Qantas Credit Union Arena;
  • NRL Community and Player Education Awards on Friday night at the Sheraton on the Park;
    Grand Final Day at Sydney Olympic Park including family-friendly activities, food stalls and merchandise;
  • Gates open on Grand Final day at ANZ Stadium at 1.15pm with the Holden Cup Grand Final, the 2015 NRL State Championship Grand Final (winners of the VB NSW Cup and Queensland Intrust Super Cup), and special pre-game concert from the legendary Cold Chisel;
  • The NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final kicks off at 7.15pm.