It was the players on show not the outcome that interested Sky Sport Future Warriors staff at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Pitted against each other in the early game before the NRL contest were teams representing the One New Zealand Warriors and the recently-formed Pasifika Aotearoa Collective.
The two organisations have forged a partnership designed to enhance pathways opportunities for young players dreaming of become One New Zealand Warriors NRL footballers.
The Warriors brought together a squad of under-17 players from their system while the Pasifika Aotearoa Collective selected a line-up of under-18 players.
The sheer size of many of the players was something to behold as were the skills displayed by many of them.
And that’s what enthused Andrew McFadden, the One New Zealand Warriors’ general manager recruitment, pathways and development. As he pointed out afterwards there were many positives to come out of the day including the special thrill the players had of wearing the Warriors’ colours.
It seemed in the opening moments that the Sky Sport Future Warriors, while younger, would be a cut above but the match proved to be more competitive than the early exchanges hinted at.
Indeed the Warriors duly won decisively 34-12 but the score-line told nothing of the resistance the PAC line-up put up in scoring three unconverted tries.
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
One New Zealand Warriors 17s 34 (Ezkiel Faga-Leti, Jackson Stewart, Francis Tuimauga, Nganatatafu Vake, Rico Ward-Lawrence, Toby Gibson, Te Paeroa Wi Neera tries; Maui Winitana-Patelesio 3 conversions}.
Pasifika Aotearoa Collective 18s 12 (Sione Lisala 2, Malakai Kama tries).
Halftime: 20-4 Warriors.
One New Zealand Warriors 17s | Rico Ward-Lawrence; Jackson Stewart, Compton Purcell, Nganatatafu Vake, Lucky Kali; Maui Winitana-Patelesio, Noah Jensen; Jason Salalilo, Atelea Filo, Ezkiel Faga-Leti; Te Paeroa Wi Neera, Te Waaka Popata-Henare (v-c); Augustino Filipo (c). Interchange: Taipari Wikitera, Antonio Ulugia, Paula Lu’ua, Kaleb Neru, Toby Gibson, Francis Tuimauga, Santano Pekepo-Tevaga, Lennox Tuiloma, Adam Lawrence, Asher Norman Te Pou.
Pasifika Aotearoa Collective 18s | Diesel Folau; Sione Lisala, Caelis Samuel, Junior Sikuvea (v-c), Jovilisi Sloan; Rys Manu, Iosia Tuli; Atapana Su'a, David Kama, Bernard Ngungutau; Lyrakai-Layke Posimani (c). Interchange: Rob Ah Chong, Jeremiah Cullen, Malakai Cama, Joey Upoko, Kanaan Magele, Emosi Ravosai, Peter Kengike, Christian Faafoi, Noah Hetutu-Davis.