The Vodafone Warriors will usher in a new era in their history tomorrow (Sunday) when they launch their debut campaign in the New South Wales Rugby League’s illustrious S G Ball Cup competition against the Victoria Thunderbolts at Trusts Arena in Waitakere (1.00pm kick-off).
The club has switched to the under-18 grade after fielding a team for the past 12 seasons at under-20 level in the now-defunct NYC (2008-2017) and then the Jersey Flegg Cup (2018-2019).
The S G Ball Cup is steeped in history, renowned as the breeding ground for many of the game’s best players in New South Wales.
“It’s an exciting time for the club entering the S G Ball competition for the first time. It’s a high-quality competition and we are thankful for the NSWRL’s support,” said Sky Sport Future Warriors general manager and S G Ball coach Greg Boulous.
“We have had a good preseason and are looking to see how the squad responds early in the season.”
In recent years the Vodafone Warriors have traditionally fielded the youngest team in the Jersey Flegg competition.
“We have a couple of boys in Sione Moala and Taniela Otukolo who have already had a season of under-20 football. We’ve got a great mix of both under-17 and under-18 players,” said Boulous.
One of seven under 17 players named in the inaugural line-up is Ali Leiataua, the Papatoetoe Panthers junior who is the younger brother of Warriors WNRL and Kiwi Ferns forward Onjeurlina Leiataua and nephew of Vodafone Warriors legend Ali Lauiititi.
The club’s wider squad, featuring many graduates of the Sky Sport Future Warriors programme, has been training since November.
“The majority of the squad have been with the club for two to three years so not only is this a great reward but we also think they should be ready for the experience,” said Sky Sport Future Warriors programme manager Jordan Friend.
As part of the Sky Sport Future Warriors programme, there will be a second match at Trusts Arena tomorrow which will see an Auckland Warriors Development selection against a Regional Warriors selection.
“There is a strong player development focus at the club so it will be exciting to see some of the wider squad and many of our regionally based players on display,” said Friend.
“It creates a quality football experience for all participants. For regional players who don’t get a lot of rugby league, it allows us to get them into the club for a short camp.”
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS v VICTORIA THUNDERBOLTS
Sunday, February 9, 2020
Trusts Arena, 65-57 Central Park Drive, Henderson
- 12.45pm| Gates open (FREE ENTRY)
- 1.00pm| S G Ball Cup: Vodafone Warriors v Victoria Thunderbolts
- 2.30pm | Sky Sport Future Warriors Origin: Auckland Warriors v Regional Warriors
VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS
1 ALI LEIATAUA
2 ERIC VAAFUSUAGA
3 JEREMIAH ASI
4 TAMIRO ARMSTRONG
5 DAEON AMITUANAI
6 SEBASTYAN JACK
7 SIONE MOALA
8 OTUKINEKINA KEPU
9 TANIELA OTUKOLO
10 LLEYTON FINAU
11 ZYON MAIUU
12 CARL LOLOHEA
13 TAMEHANA PARURU
14 VAKA SIKAHELE
15 VAILINGI KEPU
16 TONY TAFA
17 CARLOS TARAWHITI
18 JARNEY PROCTOR-HARWOOD
20 VILIAMI VAILEA
COACH | GREG BOULOUS