Five young players including 2015 NRL rookie Sam Lisone are the first residents in the just-opened Autex House, the Vodafone Warriors' home-away-from-home for players chasing their rugby league dreams.
Autex Industries CEO Mark Robinson joined Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle, the house residents, current NRL players and staff to officially open the house in East Auckland last Sunday.
With house parents Spencer and Carmen Taplin in charge, the six-bedroom home gives the young players the chance to put some structure around their daily routines, to learn life skills and to ensure they adhere to high standards in terms of their nutrition, rest, recovery, hydration and preparation as aspiring footballers.
"It's a home away from home for these young players," said Doyle.
"If we're managing the boys in this house we're ensuring we give them the best chance for success so they're eating the right food, they're recovering (from training and playing), they're sleeping and all those types of things.
"It's our responsibility as the Vodafone Warriors to give these young players that opportunity."
Robinson said Autex had moved away from sponsoring teams at international level, as the company has done with the Kiwis over many years.
"Our interest is in helping young kids develop the best way they can and supporting the Vodafone Warriors with Autex House is a perfect way of doing this," he said.
"I think this sort of thing should happen more often to help people get ahead in life and become successful."
The Taplins are not new to running a house of this type. They had similar experience with the Sydney Roosters before returning home to New Zealand. Spencer is entrusted with the day to day running of Autex House while Carmen has a full-time role with the Vodafone Warriors as the club's football operations coordinator.
There are a number of rules the players must adhere to including making their beds every morning when they get up, having their weight checked, learning to cook and helping with meals and other housekeeping tasks.
Aucklander James Mafi, who made his NYC debut this year, is one of the initial group of residents.
"This is a massive opportunity for young players," he said.
"This is going to help us to get all the little things right like eating right, sleeping right and doing all we can to improve."
The current NRL players on hand for the opening were new signing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ben Matulino, Konrad Hurrell, Charlie Gubb and Albert Vete. Also there were Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden, New South Wales Cup coach Stacey Jones, NYC coach Kelvin Wright and recruitment and development manager Tony Iro.