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Rewinding Vodafone Warriors' grand final week in 2011

It was a week like no other, destined to be so the moment Shaun Johnson wove his magical spell to put Lewis Brown in for the match winner.

And when James Maloney converted from wide out the Vodafone Warriors had done the unimaginable for the second time in three years, stunning Melbourne in the finals only this time it was terminal.

It was 10 years ago this week on September 24, 2011 that the Ivan Cleary-coached Vodafone Warriors surged into the club’s second grand final with their 20-12 win over the Storm at AAMI Park.

(Ten years later Cleary has this week repeated the feat by overturning the fancied Storm again to take Penrith to a second straight grand final).

On this corresponding week in 2011 the Vodafone Warriors were experiencing an unprecedented time in the club’s history.

It had started that Saturday night on September 24 with not only the NRL side but also the NYC team making it to grand final day, the Vodafone Junior Warriors by dint of their 64-0 trouncing of Canterbury Bankstown.

And there was more to come. As the NRL and NYC teams boarded their flight home the following day they did so knowing their feeder team the Auckland Vulcans could complete an astonishing triple.

So when the plane touched down in Auckland there was hooting and hollering aplenty as news came through that the Vulcans had completed an extraordinary 30-26 win over Cronulla Sutherland to seal the deal. Three teams from one club making it to grand final day at ANZ Stadium. Simply phenomenal.

And so began an unforgettable week beginning with a rapturous reception from families and fans at Auckland International Airport followed by a fan day at Mount Smart Stadium on Tuesday before the NRL squad flew to Sydney the next day to take in all the duties and festivities before grand final day itself.

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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