In a strategic move to bolster the club's commitment to nurturing junior rugby league talent in New Zealand, the One New Zealand Warriors have opened a new advanced gym facility dedicated exclusively to their pathways programme.
The facility, conveniently located adjacent to the Go Media Stadium precinct, reflects the club's proactive approach to fostering future NRL stars.
The decision to establish the new facility was prompted by the introduction of a full stable of pathways teams for the 2024 season.
For the first time the club will field five men's teams after the decision to enter teams in two of the New South Wales Rugby League's renowned age group competitions the Harold Matthews Cup (under-17) and the Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21). They've been added to the existing three teams in the NRL, New South Wales Cup and SG Ball Cup (under-19).
This surge in teams put enormous strain on existing facilities at Go Media Smart, prompting the One New Zealand Warriors' management, spearheaded by owner Mark Robinson, to secure the new space.
Sky Sport Future Warriors coach Tony Iro said the new space would allow junior players to work independently and out of the way, without compromising on high-performance standards.
"We're very excited and proud to be here. The equipment is top-notch - even some of our NRL players are a bit jealous," he said.
"It’s not just weights and cardio equipment, we have full office spaces and we have video analysis suites that the NRL boys use. That’s all here as well as physio rooms, team meeting rooms. It’s basically a one stop shop.
"There is a sense of responsibility associated with the new facility, too. This is our home and players are expected to respect and care for the space."
At a pathways level, the focus in the weight room was largely built around lifting techniques and movement patterns, crucial for players transitioning to the NRL level, Iro said.
"The NRL is changing, with players becoming more efficient. The game is getting faster, and we need our players to be prepared when they arrive at the next level."
As well as the gym, the One New Zealand Warriors have a separate field facility at the nearby One Tree Hill College dedicated to the Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball Cup teams. In joint venture with the school, the club has a top-class training field plus a meeting room and dressing room facilities for its use.