After being starved of playing opportunities during the Covid era, a team of Sky Sport Future Warriors under-18 players relished an 11-day upper North Island tour during the school holidays.
The trip taking in Whangarei, Mount Maunganui and Rotorua had been a goal for the players since November last year as they began preseason training.
“The tour happened because of the support we received from the Northern Swords, the Whalers in Mount Maunganui and the Bay of Plenty Rugby League,” said Sky Sport Future Warriors manager Athens Henare.
“We really appreciate the communities, volunteers and players from those areas who helped to make the tour such a success.
“The purpose of the tour was to give our young under-18 talent an opportunity to wear the Warriors jersey. We also wanted to develop the boys’ game awareness, game IQ, position specific knowledge and skill improvement.”
Henare said the players had worked hard to perform their roles accurately and with a high standard of energy. They also had to learn the importance of self-discipline with food portions, sleep expectations, dress code, travel, discipline of being on time and respecting accommodation facilities.
“The whole tour was a great learning opportunity for all involved to be ready for 2023,” said Henare.
The Vodafone Warriors have committed to having a team in the New South Wales Rugby League’s 2023 S G Ball Cup under-19 competition.
SKY SPORT FUTURE WARRIORS TEAM
William Piliu (Captain)
Saturday, April 23, Otaika Park/Blue Goose, Whangarei
Sky Sport Warriors Academy 52, Northern Swords Selection 6
Wednesday, April 27, Arataki Park, Mount Maunganui
Sky Sport Warriors Academy 48, Whalers Under-19 12
Saturday, April 30, Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Sky Sport Warriors Academy 46, ARL Vulcans Selection 12
“We thank Discovery Settlers Hotel in Whangarei, Pacific Park Christian Camp in Papamoa and the Distinction Rotorua Hotel for their amazing meals and hospitality during the tour,” said Henare.
“We would also like to thank the club’s management and Autex for providing the Vodafone Warriors’ bus for our travel as well as supporting the tour and the growth of these young men not only as football players but in becoming better people in our community.”