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Less than 24 hours after their win over Newcastle, the Vodafone Warriors were fronting up again on Saturday night, this time by manning checkpoints in Mount Wellington and Manukau City helping to promote the 'Drive Drink Free' message.

In a joint community initiative with the New Zealand Police and Auckland Transport, the Vodafone Warriors were on hand helping with a major alcohol prevention operation.

Only this was an operation with a twist and it proved to be a huge success.

Those who went through the checkpoints and were identified as being sober, having a sober driver, or using a driving service were provided with rewards as a thank you for their efforts - and the rewards were handed out by Vodafone Warriors involved in Friday night's critical 20-4 NRL win over Newcastle.

Included in the giveaways were flags, miniature rugby balls and meet and greets and photo opportunities with favourite Vodafone Warriors players.

Also handed out as rewards were tickets to the Vodafone Warriors-Penrith Panthers at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday, August 24.

Drivers and passengers passing through the checkpoints a little gobsmacked when they found they had an opportunity to interact with Vodafone Warriors players.

More than 3000 vehicles were stopped as part of the exercise. While the vast majority were responsible drivers, 21 individuals were still processed for drink driving who will now be facing an appearance in court rather than having free tickets to watch the Vodafone Warriors take on the Panthers.

National road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said it was amazing to have Vodafone Warriors players rewarding good behaviour and reinforcing safety messaging around the importance of driving drink free.

"People were very surprised to see them at the check point with police," he said.

"As an organisation they have taken a strong stance against driving under the influence of alcohol and we really commend them for that.

"The operation was designed to raise awareness of the drive drink free message and encourage positive behaviours rather than focusing only on those people found to be breaking the law.

"Aside from a potential conviction and date in court, your risk of being involved in a serious crash is vastly heightened when driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Tragically, 75 people in Auckland have lost their lives and a further 516 were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in the past five years (2013-2017). That tells us that attitudes around drink driving still have to change.

"We know that many people in our communities look up to the Vodafone Warriors and we hope that if they can see the players want people to drive drink free, then it might make them think twice before they get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol."

Police thanked both the Vodafone Warriors and Auckland Transport for their help in making such a positive event possible.

Auckland Transport's chief executive Shane Ellison said the operation on Saturday demonstrated that working together to reduce alcohol-related crashes is key.

"It's our number one priority to improve road safety and reduce deaths and serious injuries by 60 per cent, but we can't do it alone," he said.

"We need to all work together to make our roads safer, and the Vodafone Warriors are great advocates helping us and the police to spread the message of driving drink free."

Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club welcomed the opportunity to join the police and Auckland Transport in the operation.

"The players really relished being involved in the undertaking," he said.

"It was not only a special experience for them being out on the frontline with NZ Police and Auckland Transport but it also gave them the chance to make a real contribution in helping to raise awareness of the drive drink free message.

"Helping with initiatives of this type is really important to us as an organisation. We believe we have a responsibility to support our community in a positive way and our players are in a position to make a real difference."

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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