After engaging with hundreds of kids on a three-day blitz in Palmerston North, the Vodafone Warriors now turn their community focus on the Rotorua region as they launch a packed programme in the run-in to the club’s final NRL trial against Wests Tigers at the International Stadium on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off).
A largely unchanged team is on deck again to spread some rugby league gold dust around the tourist mecca including just-named Young New Zealander of the Year Georgia Hale, the legendary Ruben Wiki, former Kiwi Fern Lorina Papali’i and 2020 Vodafone Warriors squad members Jazz Tevaga and Nate Roache.
This time they’re joined by injured prop Bunty Afoa while young signing Junior Ratuva is on board again after helping out in Palmerston North.
As they did in the Manawatu, the community team will connect with hundreds of kids when they visit six schools on Thursday and another six on Friday as well as doing a signing session at Rotorua’s night markets on Thursday night.
Also on the agenda is the Sky Sport Rugby League Roadshow initiative which brings the New Zealand Rugby League and the Vodafone Warriors together to promote the code.
It first took in stops at popular holiday destinations Gisborne, Ohope, Mount Maunganui and Whitianga followed by Palmerston North last week.
After their captain’s run on Saturday, the whole squad taking on the Tigers on Sunday will drop in on the roadshow at the International Stadium when they'll mix with fans, sign autographs and pose for photographs. They're due to arrive at 11.15am.
The Vodafone Warriors’ community team will be on hand again on Sunday to support local rugby league volunteers running a mini mods festival involving teams from central North Island clubs from as far afield as Turangi, Taupo and Tokoroa as well as Tauranga and Rotorua.
Another feature of the weekend will be the Peter McLeod Cup Nines tournament with games on Saturday and Sunday culminating in the final as the curtain raiser to the Vodafone Warriors-Wests Tigers NRL trial.