History beckons on Friday night when the Vodafone Warriors field their NRL women’s premiership side for the first time in the opening leg of a double header feature marking the Harvey Norman Women in League Round.
On a special night at Mount Smart Stadium, the Vodafone Warriors women will face Auckland in a match kicking off at 6.00pm (gates open at 5.45pm) with the men then taking on Newcastle (8.00pm kick-off) as they look to maintain their bid for a spot in the NRL finals.
“It’s a hugely significant night for us,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“We’d urge our members and fans to turn up in big numbers and arrive early to see history made as our NRL women’s team not only plays for the first time but also shares the bill with our men’s NRL team.
“We also have the first woman coach in NRL history in Luisa Avaiki so it couldn’t be more appropriate to introduce Luisa and her team to all our members and fans on our Harvey Norman Women in League game day.
“Then, if that’s not enough, we have the unprecedented case of a mother and son (Lorina and Isaiah Papali’i) representing a club at the same time at elite level when they line up for the Vodafone Warriors on the same night.”
The Vodafone Warriors will join the Brisbane Broncos, St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters in the inaugural NRL women’s premiership next month. The four clubs will feature throughout the NRL finals with the top two teams clashing in a title decider on the NRL’s grand final day at ANZ Stadium on September 30.
New Zealand women’s rugby league legend Avaiki announced the Vodafone Warriors’ 22-strong squad last Wednesday. Among the players signed are New Zealand Kiwi Ferns legends Laura Mariu – the current national captain – and Sarina Clark (nee Fiso) plus two sisters (Hilda Mariu and Kahurangi Peters), 41-year-old Lorina Papali’i – mother of 19-year-old NRL player Isaiah Papali’i – and several players who have been international representatives in other sports including Georgia Hale, who works for the Vodafone Warriors as a community coordinator.
The squad had a two-day camp at Mount Smart Stadium last weekend.