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Simon Mannering signs autographs for fans after their win of Vodafone Warriors v Newcastle Knights, NRL Rugby League, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. 28 March 2016. Copyright photo: Libby Law /

Saturday night football’s back at Mount Smart Stadium for the first time this season when the Vodafone Warriors go in search of their third straight win in this Saturday’s sixth-round NRL clash against Manly (7.30pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Woodstock).

Coming off victories over Newcastle (40-18) and the Sydney Roosters (32-28), the home side will be seeking to overcome one of their toughest opponents to level up their 2016 record at three wins and three losses.

The emphasis is on having a Saturday night out at the footy, getting right behind the Vodafone Warriors after two outings which have seen them net 72 points and a total of 13 tries. The football action is centred on the NRL game kicking off at 7.30pm plus the NYC fixture at 5.15pm.

Among the crowd supporting the Vodafone Warriors will be SKYCITY Northern Mystics netballers Catherine Tuivaiti (nee Latu) and Serena Guthrie, who'll be the celebrity drummers for the pre-game ritual as well as being guests in the Corporate Lounge.

The halftime entertainment is the Woodstock Blindfold Challenge involving teams competing for $1000.

As well as having a number of exclusive features for Vodafone Warriors members, the new Members’ Clubrooms at the northern end of the ground are a base for SKY Sport’s live game day coverage. Current players, former players and other guests pass through the area to make appearances on SKY Sport’s set. This week injured Vodafone Warriors wing Manu Vatuvei is scheduled to be in the area when he appears on SKY Sport’s game day coverage from 6.50pm to 7.00pm while hooker Issac Luke and halfback Jeff Robson are the two players lined up to be interviewed by former Vodafone Warrior Shontayne Hape in the clubrooms after the game and to appear on SKY Sport’s After Match show.

One of the most significant changes to the match day experience is the ritual building up to the main game.

About 35 minutes before the scheduled kick-off it starts with the beating of a drum and the Drums of the Pacific joining in to welcome the teams onto the field for their warm-ups. Starting the ritual at each home game is a special guest drummer (Vodafone Warriors legend Lance Hohaia did the honours at the first home game of the year).

For their warm-up, Vodafone Warriors players now emerge wearing warm-up t-shirts bearing their name and club number on the back; four of the t-shirts are fired into the crowd by the Canterbury t-shirt cannon. The four fans who claim the shirts 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 so they can be accompanied to the gym.

The SKYCITY cheer team remains an integral component of the pre-match ritual as do the Drums of the Pacific while the halftime feature in the NYC fixture is the Ray White Coin Toss (a Vodafone Warriors member tosses the coin).

Apart from events in the Members’ Clubrooms a lot of other activities and attractions are on offer at the northern end of the ground, especially in the Harvey Norman Community Fun Zone where there’s be a passing wall, face painting and a photo booth. Vodafone Warriors players Manu Vatuvei, Bodene Thompson, Nathaniel Roache and Ben Henry will all make appearances at the photo booth.

While Woodstock 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
  • DTR | VIP experience
  • Flava | Favourite Fans (photos taken inside Gate A)
  • TAB | Caravan at Gate C; TAB terminal inside Corporate Lounge
  • Suzuki | Win the Suzuki Swift Road Warrior competition in the Fanzone at the northern end of the ground
  • Canterbury of New Zealand | T-shirt cannon


Saturday, April 9

Mount Smart Stadium

5.00pm | Gates open

5.15pm | NYC | Vodafone Junior Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles

7.30pm | NRL | Vodafone Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles



Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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