Mount Smart Stadium will host a match of historic significance when the Future Warriors face the New South Wales Harold Matthews champion under-16 Newcastle side tomorrow (2.00pm kick-off).
The fixture is a further example of the progress the Vodafone Warriors are making with their Future Warriors programme which pits the club’s top young under-16 prospects against the best team out New South Wales.
The game rounds out a triple header which also features the Vodafone Junior Warriors taking on the Cronulla Sharks in the Jersey Flegg Cup (10.00am kick-off) and the club’s Canterbury Cup NSW side facing the Newtown Jets (12.00pm kick-off).
Newcastle’s elite pathway programs manager Casey Bromilow said the trip was reward for the victory in the New South Wales under-16 final.
“It’s a really good opportunity going to play against the Warriors over there,” he said.
“Those guys won’t have ever had experience playing against a team that is predominantly Polynesian and quite big and strong.”
Vodafone Warriors general manager football Brian Smith said the match would provide the club’s young players with an amazing experience.
“With our Future Warriors programme we are proactive in providing quality experience to engage and develop young players,” he said.
“The opportunity to play against the champion Newcastle Knights at Mount Smart Stadium will a very special occasion.
“Newcastle is the top side from Australia so it will be a huge challenge for our boys but, regardless of the result, a great learning experience.”
Future Warriors programme manager Jordan Friend said the club appreciated the Knights agreeing to come to Auckland.
“With the changes in our pathway there is a push to expose our young players to quality footballing opportunities,” he said.
“Some of the boys will line up in our inaugural S G Ball Cup side next year so this will give them a taste of what it will be like.”
Entry to Mount Smart Stadium is free via tomorrow (use Gate B). Free parking is available in the main car park.