A stadium facelift including the newly-erected Members’ Clubrooms, eye-catching Vodafone Warriors banners and flags plus a special match day ritual will be among the features when the club kicks off its home programme with a tripleheader football feast at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday (match day sponsor: Vodafone).
The action begins with the Intrust Super Premiership clash between the Vodafone Warriors and Newtown (11.45am kick-off) followed by the Vodafone Junior Warriors v Melbourne NYC encounter (1.45pm kick-off) and the NRL battle for the Michael Moore Trophy between the Ryan Hoffman-led Vodafone Warriors and his old club kicking off at 4.00pm.
The Members’ Clubrooms provide a focal point directly behind the dead-ball line in the Fanzone at the northern end of the ground.
As well as providing a number of exclusive features for Vodafone Warriors members, the new clubrooms will be a base for SKY Sport’s live game day coverage. Current players, former players and other guests will pass through the area to make appearances on SKY Sport’s set.
Complete with bold branding, the look of the Members’ Clubrooms is complemented by new imagery around the stadium including a huge ‘Our House’ sign on the back of the East Stand above the entrance to the club’s offices, another ‘Your Team’ sign in the car park, banners and flags in other locations and impressive facelifts for the Corporate Lounge and the Captains’ Club in the East Stand.
One of the most significant changes to the match day experience is a new ritual building up to the main game.
About 35 minutes before the scheduled kick-off a clarion call will signal the countdown proper as the Vodafone Warriors and the Storm begin their warm-ups. Setting off the ritual each home game will be a celebrity drummer; on Sunday it will be special guest Vodafone Warrior #99 Lance Hohaia (185 games from 2002-2011), who is home briefly from the United States with his wife Marisa and their sons Tyler and Riley.
For their warm-up, Vodafone Warriors players will emerge wearing T-shirts bearing their name and club number on the back; the T-shirts will be collected during the warm-up with four selected to be fired into the crowd by a T-shirt cannon. The four fans who claim the shirts will have an exclusive opportunity to meet the relevant players in the gym after the game; the T-shirt winners will need to make their way to the Members’ Clubrooms at the northern end of the stadium so they can be accompanied to the gym.
The pre-game ritual will climax with the announcement of the Vodafone Warriors’ team followed by a cacophony of sound as captain Ryan Hoffman and the players emerge from the East Stand tunnel to make their way onto the field. This week they’ll do so through a guard of honour comprising young players from clubs involved in the mini mod games – Hibiscus Coast (which featured on ‘Small Talk’ on the Footy Show last night), Otara, Richmond and Otahuhu.
The SKYCITY cheer team remains an integral component of the pre-match ritual as do the Drums of the Pacific while the Ray White Coin Toss at halftime in the NYC game is another regular ingredient.
Apart from events in the Members’ Clubrooms a lot of other activities and attractions will be on offer at the northern end of the ground, especially in the Harvey Norman Community Fun Zone where there’ll be a passing wall, face painting and a photo booth (open from 3.30pm-4.45pm with the chance to have photos with some Vodafone Warriors players from 3.30pm-3.45pm).
While Vodafone will have a presence as the official match day sponsor many of the club’s other partners have activities including:
· Red Bull | Best seats in the house.
· SKYCITY Member of the Week | Enter in the Members’ Clubrooms or online
· SKYCITY Meet the Team | Join the Vodafone Warriors at the post-match function at Andy’s Burger Bar (children can attend accompanied by adults)
· DTR | VIP experience
· Flava | Favourite Fans (photos taken inside Gate A)
· TAB | Caravan at Gate C; TAB terminal inside Corporate Lounge
· Suzuki | Road Warrior in photo zone
· Canterbury of New Zealand | T-shirt cannon
The special guest in the Corporate Lounge will be Lance Hohaia while Tony Veitch will be broadcasting his ‘Veitch on Sport’ show live on NewstalkZB from 12.00pm-6.00pm on Sunday. It will also be live on RadioSport until live commentary of the Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne match from 4.00pm.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v MELBOURNE STORM
Sunday, March 20
Mount Smart Stadium
11.30am | Gates open
11.45am | Intrust Super Premiership NSW | Vodafone Warriors v Newtown Jets
1.45pm | NYC | Vodafone Junior Warriors v Melbourne Storm
4.05pm | NRL | Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne Storm
7.00pm-8.00pm | Meet the Team, Andy’s Burger Bar, Level 2, SKYCITY (all ages welcome)