For one night only, Mount Smart Stadium will be temporarily renamed Manu Vatuvei Stadium in honour of the Vodafone Warriors legend who has announced his departure from the club.
Vatuvei confirmed on Monday that he was leaving the Vodafone Warriors to take up a contract with Salford in the English Super League.
But before he leaves New Zealand’s shores on Saturday, Vatuvei will be on deck at Friday night’s NRL clash with the Penrith Panthers to say goodbye to the club’s loyal fans.
Vatuvei won’t play against the Panthers but those in attendance will have the opportunity to acknowledge him and his contribution to the Vodafone Warriors.
Among the celebrations planned, the Vodafone Warriors will be giving out inflatable hands at the gates and in the membership clubrooms as a tribute to “The Beast’s” signature try-scoring celebration.
Vatuvei’s teammates will also have his name, Vodafone Warrior number and signature embroidered into their playing jerseys. They will warm up in special Canterbury tees with Vatuvei #115 on the back.
Before kick off, Vatuvei will also walk onto the field he’s graced for more than a decade one last time.
But it’s the re-naming of Mount Smart Stadium to Manu Vatuvei Stadium for “The Beast’s” farewell that is sure to turn most heads.
“Manu’s a club legend and we thought a great way to give him a fitting send-off was to rename our house Manu Vatuvei Stadium for Friday’s game against the Panthers,” Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said.
"Manu’s a club legend and we thought a great way to give him a fitting send-off was to rename our house"
“Special thanks should also go to Regional Facilities Auckland who have signed off on the initiative to allow us to pay tribute to Manu. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Vodafone Warriors fans are encouraged to pack out Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night and give Vatuvei the farewell he deserves.
The night gets underway at Manu Vatuvei Stadium with a nine-a-side curtain-raiser at 4:45pm featuring two Auckland based girls teams in recognition of the Harvey Norman Women in League round. The curtain-raiser will be followed by the Vodafone Junior Warriors at 5:45pm before the first-grade game kicks off at 8pm.
Free train travel to and from Manu Vatuvei Stadium is included with all tickets and membership cards.