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Ola's guide to game day: Round #20 v Raiders

The Vodafone Warriors and their fans will offer a big salute to the country’s emergency service staff and defence force personnel this Friday night ahead of their clash with the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium.

The NRL match, which kicks off at 8pm, is being promoted as the “Everyday Heroes” round and with curtain-raisers between the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and the New Zealand Police Force at 5:40pm as well as an intellectual disabilities match at 7:36pm, it’s going to be an action-packed night.

As they have done a number of times in recent seasons, the Vodafone Warriors have set aside a special round in which to honour the men and women who keep us safe in our communities.

As well as the first curtain-raiser, on display this Friday will be a bunch of emergency services vehicles, including police cars, a fire truck and even an airplane courtesy of the RNZAF.

The team from the New Zealand Blood Service will also be on deck to offer blood testing to find out your blood type while the police dog puppies are sure to be a big hit with fans of all ages.

The crew from Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, meanwhile, will have a giant ski parked up next to Gate B.

In the Entertainment Precinct, musical genius Tim Prior will showcase his talents on the iHeartRadio Sound Stage from 5:30-7pm, while the Chemist Warehouse Community Corner will once again be a hive of activity.

But the real highlight pre-game will be the delivery of the match ball before kick-off in an Airforce Seasprite helicopter, weather permitting.

Before the helicopter makes its appearance hovering just above the hallowed Mt Smart Stadium turf, though, two intellectual disabilities teams will take the field for a hotly anticipated match.

The participants range from 12 to 40 years old and the two sides, Warriors Blue and Warriors Red, will include players who have participated in intellectual disabilities footy clinics run by the club in April and July.

Keep an eye out for the Vodafone Warriors’ very own Mark “Mahi Man” Dekker in the red team and his side’s water boy, William Waiirua, from Dancing with the Stars fame.

After the curtain-raisers, it’s time for the main event as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and the boys go toe-to-toe with an in-form Raiders team.

After a month on the road and some electric, albeit heart-stopping, performances the Vodafone Warriors are back on home soil and looking to bring the excitement to their faithful fans.

The on-field action won’t be contained to just the footy this week, however, with the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, Second Line, ready to perform a set at half-time.

From outstanding music to horrendous pressure, the spotlight will then fall on one lucky (or potentially unlucky) fan who will attempt to kick a conversion from 30m out.

The fan will attend the game with five mates and watch the first half from the SKYCITY sideline seats right by the East Stand tunnel. And if they make the kick, they’ll win $1,000 thanks to SKYCITY. But if they miss, all six of them will then be forced to turn their backs on the field and face the stands for the second half.

Rounding out the halftime break will be the first of the Mitre 10 club relay semi-finals with Pakuranga, Mangere East, Manurewa and the Hibiscus Coast lining up. With their own junior cheerleaders, the Jaguarettes, on hand to cheer them on, Pakuranga will be hard to beat.

At the end of the match, if you’re looking for a safe way home, the Vodafone Warriors’ official ride-share partner, Ola, has once again set up a special coupon that will give fans $20 off their first ride. To access the discount, fans should enter the code “WARRIORS” - Get the app here.


Free trains to and from Mt Smart Stadium are available with your ticket or membership card. And for Friday’s game against the Raiders, fans will also get free travel on Northern Express buses from the North Shore. For all the details, please click here.

Gates open 5:15pm
Royal New Zealand Air Force v New Zealand Police 5:40pm
Intellectual Disabilities match – Warriors Blue v Warriors Red 7:36pm
Vodafone Warriors v Canberra Raiders 8:00pm
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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