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Vodafone Warriors Manu Vatuvei and James Bell had plenty of admirers when they visited Stanmore Bay Primary School on Whangaparaoa Peninsula to take a rugby league training session.

Vodafone Warriors NRL community ambassador Georgia Hale took the squad for a warm-up which featured Vatuvei and Bell getting involved in the fun games.

The kids were then split into three stations with Vatuvei teaching them two on one scenarios, Bell working on tackling technique and Hale on wrestling one-on-one defensively.

The last 10 minutes of the session switched to a full contact match with Bell joining one team as 14th man.

Bell thoroughly enjoyed visiting Stanmore Bay and saw what it meant to the kids to have a Vodafone Warrior in their presence.

“I thought it was huge because when I was in a sports team in primary school, the New Zealand Maori team came. I remember the effect it had on me, so I can only imagine the effect it had on them,” he said.

He also reflected on rugby league growing up.

“When I was a kid we didn’t have a rugby league team in my primary school. It’s good to see that league is growing.”

Vatuvei had a similar reaction and was impressed with the talent Stanmore Bay had to offer.

“There was a lot of talent, especially in the girls. You see a lot of kids who could go really far and it was good that we could share some of our skills with them,” he said.

“It definitely means a lot to me to give back to the kids. I remember when I was a little kid and rugby players came to our school to do drills.

“Just to go there and spend time with them and see the smiles on their faces made my day.”

The boys concluded the visit by joining Stanmore Bay’s staff for morning tea taking photos and giving kids meet and greet opportunities. 

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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