Ola's game day guide: Rd #18 v Sharks

After a thrilling draw against the Broncos at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium last weekend, the Vodafone Warriors are set to hit the Capital this Friday where they’ll square off against Shaun Johnson’s Cronulla Sharks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The “home-away-from-home” game is the club’s first appearance at Westpac Stadium since beating the Bulldogs there in 2016 and will be their 10th on Wellington soil overall.

Naming rights partner Vodafone is the game day sponsor for this hotly-anticipated match-up and as well as fireworks on the pitch, fans can expect plenty of entertainment off it, too.

To ensure the sound of Mt Smart Stadium travels with them, the Vodafone Warriors will have their Cook Islands drum troupe on deck in Wellington. They’ll be in the plaza before kick-off and then thundering throughout the match in a bid to help ride the boys home.

When you arrive at the stadium, keep an eye out for Hauraki’s street team who will be running a guess-the-score competition with great prizes up for grabs.

If you’re bringing young footy fanatics to the game, the Chemist Warehouse Community Fun Zone is also the place to be. Look for the face painters, photo station or try your hand at our passing wall to win great prizes.

Vodafone Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is a Kapiti boy and a product of Wellington’s fantastic grassroots rugby league system so it’s only fair that Friday’s game also doubles as a chance for the next generation of young players to showcase their skills.

In the build-up to the NRL kick-off, we’ve got six mini mod fixtures on the main turf at Westpac Stadium with the Patea Warriors, Dannevirke Tigers, Whiti Te Ra, Porirua Vikings, Titahi Bay Marlins, Te Aroha Eels, Kapiti Coast Bears, Wainuiomata Lions, Randwick Kingfishers and the Victoria Hunters all represented.

Get to the ground nice and early to check out the local juniors – and some from further afield – carving it up. Who knows? Perhaps the next Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be on display!

As well as Kearney, Friday’s game also doubles as a home fixture for the club’s 19th man and ambassador, Sir Peter Leitch. After a health scare earlier in the year, the “Mad Butcher” is match fit again and will be front and centre for the coin toss at 7pm. Make sure you show him some love as he’s been through a bit this year.

About 20 minutes before kick-off, it’s time to take your seats when injured centre Patrick Herbert shoulders our Canterbury T-Shirt cannon and shoots it into the crowd. One t-shirt also includes a golden ticket with a $200 CCC voucher.

If you want to take your support for the team to the next level, our membership team will also be on deck to help you out with supporter’s packs, which include a cap or junior pack, for just $15.

But if a jersey is more your thing, make sure you swing by one of the stadium’s merchandise outlets to get kitted out in your club colours.

There’s no question Friday night is all about the footy. With both teams vying for a place in the NRL’s top eight, everything will be on the line. The Sharks and Vodafone Warriors have had some epic contests over the years and hopefully this one is no different.

But another competition with super high stakes worth tuning in for is the Mitre 10 Club Relay at halftime. The race, which will see clubs and regions team up on Friday, has fast become one of the most popular game day attractions at Mt Smart Stadium.

This week, Hutt Valley 1 and 2 will be lining up against clubs from Western Bays 1 and 2 with representatives from many local clubs competing for the chance to win prizes from Mitre 10.

If you haven’t already, get your tickets today from Ticketek.co.nz 

TIMINGS

Gates open: 6.30pm

Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla Sharks: 8.00pm

TRANSPORT

Westpac Stadium is centrally located and close to Wellington Railway Station and major bus routes. We recommend public transport for all patrons travelling to the venue. Please check the Westpac Stadium website for information about getting to and from the venue, entry conditions and other useful information. 

PARKING

The stadium car park opens at 4pm and costs $32 online or $35 at the gate. Click here to purchase. Online sales close at 2pm on Friday but cash and eftpos are available at the gate. Please don’t forget to print out your ezyticket and have it ready to show on your arrival to the carpark. Once parked, please your ticket on the your dashboard.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

  • There will be plenty of food and beverage outlets open around the concourse, except between Aisles 1-8 which are closed for this game. We also have Fritz Weiner’s out on the Inner Plaza.
  • You can pop up to the Mezzanine Bar and the Pavilion Bar for a wider selection of wine, beer and other food options too.
  • For something a little bit sweet, we have donuts at Aisle 13, Aisle 25 and the Inner Plaza.
  • If you need a coffee hit or to warm up, there are two barista coffee carts around the Stadium. These are located at Aisle 13 and 24. Coffee is a popular choice at half time so please be patient as it takes time to make each coffee fresh.
  • Patrons are more than welcome to bring an empty or sealed bottle no bigger than 1L into the Stadium. Water fountains are also located at Aisle 2,6, 9, 11, 23, 25, 28 and 32.