Rugby league’s famed Canberra Raiders – the Green Machine – have today been confirmed as the Vodafone Warriors’ opponents for their 11th-round NRL home game at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium next year.
The release of the full 2016 draw has revealed the teams will clash in Taranaki’s main centre on Saturday, May 21 (7.30pm kick-off).
The first-ever NRL match in Taranaki will have added appeal for new Vodafone Warriors signing Issac Luke, the Hawera-born hooker set for a game in his home province in his first season with the club.
The match will bring together a big collection of current and past Kiwi internationals with the Vodafone Warriors boasting Luke, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson, Tuimoala Lolohea, Ben Henry and Ali Lauitiiti.
The Raiders have former Kiwis Iosia Soliola and Frank-Paul Nuuausala on their roster again as well as Wellington-born Jordan Rapana. Also in the Ricky Stuart-coached squad are England hooker Josh Hodgson, Blake Austin, Jarrod Croker, New Zealand-born Kangaroos forward Josh Papalii, Jack Wighton and new signings in ex-Gold Coast playmaker Aidan Sezer and England second rower Elliott Whitehead.
With games being played in Wellington, Christchurch and New Plymouth, Doyle urged Vodafone Warriors supporters to take advantage of the club’s Warrior Proud membership. Among the benefits of the low-priced $59 membership is a ticket to any of the Vodafone Warriors’ games in New Zealand.
“It’s perfect for people in those regions who can’t make it to Auckland but would love to go to one of our games in 2016,” he said.