After making the long trip to Perth for the NRL Nines, the Vodafone Warriors’ hectic three-week preseason schedule now switches focus to the traditional game.
In the first of their NRL trials they face the Melbourne Storm at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North on Saturday, February 22 (5.00pm kick-off) followed by their final preseason build-up match against Wests Tigers at Rotorua International Stadium on Sunday, March 1 (2.00pm kick-off).
It doesn’t end there with four of the club’s players travelling to the Gold Coast to be involved in the All-Stars showpiece between the Māori Kiwis and the Australian Indigenous team at Cbus Super Stadium in Robina this Saturday (10.10pm kick-off NZT).
Adam Blair and Kodi Nikorima are lining up for the Māori while Josh Curran and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are with the Australian Indigenous side; Taunoa-Brown, who's on a trial contract, will be the only squad member backing up after playing for the Vodafone Warriors at the NRL Nines in Perth.
There’ll also be a Warriors flavour in the Māori Ferns side for the women’s match against their Australian Indigenous opponents with Amber Kani, Harata Butler and Kathleen Wharton-Keremete doubling up after appearing at the Nines while 2018-2019 Warriors WNRL players Krystal Rota and Tanika-Jazz Nobel-Bell will join them.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney will name an extended squad for the Palmerston North trial on Tuesday.
It will be the club’s third trip to play in the Manawatu’s main centre after appearing there in the club’s first season in 1995 while they beat Gold Coast at Central Energy Trust Arena in 2017.
“Travelling to provincial areas whenever we can is always a real highlight for us,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“We’ll be out and about in the community later this week connecting with kids and local fans. We’re really looking forward to our time in Palmerston North.”
John Lynch, venues manager at Venues and Events Palmerston North, said the region was excited to have the Vodafone Warriors back in the region.
“Our team at Central Energy Trust Arena is thrilled to be welcoming back the Vodafone Warriors, and hosting the Melbourne Storm franchise for the first time,” he said John Lynch.
“This is another opportunity to showcase rugby league locally and further enhances the venue’s ability to host major, world-class events. It’s a real boost for our venue and the region alike.”
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The match in Rotorua to take on the Tigers on March 1 will be the club’s fifth there. Their first was against the Sydney Roosters in 2010 when they won 26-8 while the other three also provided wins over Parramatta (24-4) in 2011, Penrith (18-4) in 2015 and the Storm (20-14) in 2018.
BUY TICKETS HERE for the Rotorua trial.