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Top players lead Christchurch community drive

Senior One New Zealand Warriors are helping to run a packed programme of community events in Christchurch from tonight ahead of Sunday's Preseason Challenge clash at Apollo Projects Stadium.

Coming off his award-laden 2023 campaign, halfback Shaun Johnson is joined by teammates Addin Fonua-Blake, Mitchell Barnett, Marata Niukore, Wayde Egan, Rocco Berry and Ed Kosi.

They're combining with Warriors Community Foundation staff including ambassador and rugby league legend Ruben Wiki delivering initiatives to Christchurch school pupils tomorrow (Friday).

Included on the agenda are visits to five schools, two coaching clinics – one focused on women – question and answer sessions with senior NRL players and another with head coach Andrew Webster plus an opportunity for the public to see the One New Zealand Warriors train.

“We’ll be engaging with close to 2000 kids in schools in a visit which forms part of the NRL’s Road to Regions wellbeing programme,” said Warriors Community Foundation CEO Lincoln Jefferson.

“It’s exciting for us being able to connect with the people of Christchurch again following on from our visit to the area this time last year.”

The programme’s aim is to lead and inspire school students and aspiring NRL stars to be the best they can be, by providing pathways and opportunities to live positive, respectful and healthy lives.

The visit kicks off with two events tonight (Thursday) conducted in association with the Sky Sport Roadshow.

The foundation‘s community programmes advisor Charlotte Scanlan will run a coaching clinic with a specific women’s focus while Wiki will lead a question and answer session with the One New Zealand Warriors NRL players.

On Friday two groups of staff and players will be in operation.

Egan, Kosi, Berry and Niukore will combine with foundation staff to present the NRL’s Road to Regions wellbeing programme at Haeata Community Campus, Shirley Primary and St Anne’s Catholic School.

Johnson, Fonua-Blake and Barnett will be in the group taking Tupu Māia, the WCF’s girls-only programme, to Shirley Intermediate School in the morning before making a presentation to St Thomas of Canterbury College in the afternoon.

Tomorrow night One New Zealand Warriors head coach Andrew Webster will be at the Halswell Hornets Rugby League Club for a question and answer session.

The One New Zealand Warriors’ final pre-game field session will be open to the public at Apollo Projects Stadium on Saturday morning from 10.00am with a signing session due to follow.

Staff from the One New Zealand Warriors, Warriors Community Foundation and the New Zealand Rugby League will be in attendance at the South Island under-16 and under-18 Nines tournament on Saturday afternoon.

The community foundation will also have a presence on game day at Apollo Projects Stadium on Sunday including supporting an exhibition match staged by Physical Disabilities Rugby League New Zealand.

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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