Canberra will be the One New Zealand Warriors’ first opponents at their home-away-from-home in Christchurch next season.
A three-year deal was announced on Friday which will see the club taking an NRL home game to the country’s second biggest city for each of the next three seasons.
Today’s announcement of the 2024 NRL draw confirms the Raiders will make history as the One New Zealand Warriors’ first Christchurch home opponents in their 30-season history.
The third-round battle has been locked in on Friday, March 22 at Apollo Projects Stadium (8.00pm kick-off).
The Ricky Stuart-coached Raiders boast a strong New Zealand contingent including middle forward Joseph Tapine and centre Matt Timoko who were both exceptional in the Kiwis’ 30-0 record win over the Kangaroos in Hamilton a week ago.
Also in Canberra’s squad are outside backs Jordan Rapana and Sebastian Kris, who were both in the Kiwis’ 2022 Rugby League World Cup line-up.
On the back of their landmark 2023 campaign, the One New Zealand Warriors have joined forces with Venues Otautahi and Christchurch NZ to take home games to Christchurch.
The One New Zealand Warriors have also further cemented their relationship with the South Island sporting community by confirming they will again play a Preseason Challenge match in Christchurch in February having also done so this year when they faced Melbourne there.
Under the partnership the 2024 and 2025 fixtures will be played at Apollo Projects Stadium before taking the 2026 game to Christchurch’s new international arena Te Kaha Stadium, which is currently under construction.
“This is such an exciting step forward for us as a club,” said One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“We’ve been eager to bring NRL games to the region for some time and the building of Te Kaha Stadium has helped to make that a reality.
“We’re so grateful to Venues Otautahi and Christchurch NZ for enabling this to happen and look forward to playing in front of full houses in Christchurch from next year.”
It was confirmed last week that the One New Zealand Warriors’ trial match next year will be against the Benji Marshall-coached Wests Tigers at Apollo Projects Stadium on Sunday, February 18 (4.00pm kick-off).
The One New Zealand Warriors have played eight NRL matches in Christchurch before, all away fixtures brought to the city by the Sydney Tigers in 1996, the Wests Tigers in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the Sydney Roosters in 2010, Penrith in 2016 and Manly Warringah in 2018 and 2019.
They also played a Super League World Club Championship match against Warrington at Lancaster Park in 1997.