A total of 13 school visits and other appearances are on the schedule for the Vodafone Warriors when they start four days out and about in the community in the Whangarei region on Wednesday.
The packed programme provides the prelude to the ‘Northland Clash’ at the Northland Events Centre on Saturday when the Vodafone Warriors take on Wests Tigers in their NRL trial (5.00pm) preceded by an Intrust Super Premiership preseason hit-out between the Vodafone Warriors and the Western Suburbs Magpies (2.15pm).
Northland born and bred veteran forward Adam Blair and his Kiwi team-mate Issac Luke headline the group of players making the trip while Taane Milne, Jackson Frei, Eliesa Katoa and Selestino Ravutaumada will also be involved.
The first school visited on Wednesday morning will be Whangarei Boys’ High School, of which Blair and promising Vodafone Warriors Jersey Flegg player Paul Turner are former pupils. A skills and drills session there is followed in the afternoon by visits to Morningside School and Maunu Primary School where the Vodafone Warriors will present the ACC SportSmart programme. The last time the Vodafone Warriors were in Northland for a trial in 2016, they officially launched the programme when it was first introduced as ACC Everyday Athlete.
Later on Wednesday the Vodafone Warriors contingent will make appearances at two Adam Blair Cup games, one between Whangarei Boys’ High School and Dargaville High School and the other between Bream Bay College and Whangarei Boys’ High School’s second team.
After early morning training on Thursday, the players will join Vodafone Warriors community staff for visits to Glenbervie Primary School and Tikipunga High School at 10.00am followed by Te Kura o Otangarei and Whangarei Intermediate School at 11.30. The visit to Te Kura o Otangarei will be especially poignant for Blair who will be returning to his old school.
On Thursday afternoon the focus switches to a club cluster at Northland Events Centre where there’ll be a powhiri for the Vodafone Warriors and Wests Tigers NRL squads.
Following that all players in the Vodafone Warriors squad for the NRL trial along with the players in the community team will run skills and drills from 4.30pm-5.30pm with about 250 kids from Rugby League Northland clubs. Every young player involved will receive boot laces, stickers and a mouth guard.
There are four more school visits on Friday morning (Ruakaka Primary School, Manaia View School, One Tree Point School and Whangarei Primary School) followed by two more to Taurarua School and Hikurangi School in the afternoon.
On Saturday, the community group players will be involved in a Future Warriors session and will also make some appearances on game day at the Northland Events Centre.