'Keeping the Faith' premieres tonight

A must-watch three-part documentary series on the Vodafone Warriors makes its premiere on SKY Sport tonight.

“Keeping the Faith – 25 years with the Warriors” chronicles the trailblazing franchise’s ride through an era unmatched in New Zealand sport.

Tonight’s premiere, screening on SKY Sport 2 from 7.30, takes in the club’s first six seasons, a time which began with the original Auckland Warriors exploding onto the New Zealand sporting landscape.

The club’s creation and arrival generated unprecedented levels of excitement, hype and expectation ahead of opening night against the Brisbane Broncos at the then-named Ericsson Stadium on Friday, March 10, 1995. Throughout that first season the John Monie-coached Auckland Warriors dazzled packed home crowds during a campaign which promised so much but ultimately just failed to deliver a place in the finals.

The Super League war, coaching, CEO and ownership changes followed in quick succession which would see the club twice threatened by extinction (in 1998 and 2000).

Part one of “Keeping the Faith” uses priceless archived footage and interviews to trace those early years, complemented by fresh interviews with key identities from the times.

SKY Sport is promoting the series as “the quarter century tale of New Zealand’s lone NRL club, from Jones to Johnson, Vagana to Vatuvei, Tuimavave to Tuivasa-Sheck. It will follow the highs and lows of their 25 years as a club.”

 Among those interviewed have been Dean Bell, Greg Alexander, John Kirwan. Daniel Anderson, Mick Watson, Shaun Johnson, Ivan Cleary, Ali Lauitiiti, Ian Robson, Graham Lowe, Ruben Wiki, Joe Vagana and more.

SKY Sport and Fox League commentator Andrew Voss says: “I’ll be surprised after watching this if you don’t feel a great sense of pride for all that has been achieved. The series covers all the characters, the big moments and the incredibly heart-breaking ones – this is not to be missed!”

Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George: “It’s great to be able to celebrate our 25-season history as a club. The SKY Sport team has done an exceptional job pulling together this series, hunting through archives, filming in Australia and carefully piecing together this three-part series. Like the Vodafone Warriors, it’ll certainly be an entertaining watch.”

As well as airing on SKY Sport 2 tonight, the first part will screen free-to-air on Prime from 6.00pm-7.00pm before the Vodafone Warriors- Brisbane clash on Saturday, which will also be live and free-to-air on Prime.

The next “Keeping the Faith” episode will premiere on Thursday, June 6, 7.30pm, on SKY Sport 2 and the final episode on Thursday, June 20, 9.00pm, on SKY Sport 2.