General Warriors And NZRL Combine In Major Development Initiative



The Vodafone Warriors and the New Zealand Rugby League today announced a joint initiative to showcase the game’s premier emerging talent on a 10-day North Island road show next month.

Framed around the coming school holidays, the tour programme includes three matches for the club’s Allied Work Force elite development side against Bartercard Cup franchises as well as a series of coaching clinics for school kids.

“Just as we did earlier in the year, we want our Allied Work Force players to have the experience of playing together as a team,†said Vodafone Warriors welfare and development manager Tony Iro.

“Our plan is that some time soon we’ll be able to have this group of players in a regular competition and this is an ideal way of preparing them for it.

“It’s also about promoting the game outside Auckland and spreading our message about developing local players from throughout the country.â€Â

NZRL general manager Peter Cordtz was excited about a first for the game.

“We haven’t seen anything like this done before,†he said.

“It’s a fantastic example of how the NZRL and the Vodafone Warriors intend to work together to foster the game at the development level.

“As well as exposing many of the country’s most promising players it also has the benefit of giving our referees and match officials more experience.â€Â

Allied Work Force managing director Simon Hull said his company was delighted to be associated with the club’s future and saw this new venture as another huge positive.

“We’ve developed a really strong relationship with the Vodafone Warriors this year in a number of ways,†he said.

“We’ve had regular barbecues with Vodafone Warriors coming along to talk to staff, which has had a great rub-off.

“It has been exciting to see players from the Allied Work Force squad make their debuts in the NRL this year, such as Patrick Ah Van and Sam Rapira.

“Quite apart from being involved with the squad, we also have a couple of the players working for us when their training schedules allow.â€Â

Iro said a 24-man squad – comprising mainly under-19 players would play games against the Waicoa Bay Stallions in Hamilton (September 24), the Central Falcons in Palmerston North (September 30) and the Wellington Orcas in Wellington (October 3).

The three Bartercard Cup franchises all have a connection with the Vodafone Warriors. First-graders Wairangi Koopu, Lance Hohaia, Louis Anderson and Sam Rapira all have a playing history in Waikato as does Simon Mannering in Wellington. In fact, Hohaia and Rapira have appeared for the Stallions this year and Mannering turned out for the Orcas earlier in the season while the Vodafone Warriors recently signed Russell and Paora Packer from the Falcons.

Iro pointed out six Waicoa Bay players had been training with the Allied Work Force squad for the past six weeks and it was possible one or two of them would be included in the touring team.

“The tour is a reward for our players. Throughout the season they do nothing but train and have no chance to play as a team so this will be a great opportunity for them,†he said.

“The NRL coaches (Ivan Cleary and John Ackland) will be watching the games so there’s a chance for all players involved in each match to impress.â€Â

On tour the Allied Work Force team will spend time in a number of centres doing up to eight coaching clinics in Hamilton, Tauranga, Taupo, Palmerston North and Wellington. They’re also scheduled to complete a leadership course at the army base in Waiouru.

A further two matches are in the pipeline for the Allied Work Force team, one before the tour and after it.

Iro said a game against the Junior Kiwis is set for Mt Smart Stadium on October 10 when a number of the Vodafone Warriors’ elite players are certain to involved in the national side.

Discussions are under way between the Vodafone Warriors and the NZRL to stage a further match between the Allied Work Force side and a Bartercard Cup selection in the curtain raiser to this year’s Bartercard Cup grand final at Mt Smart Stadium on September 17.


North Island Tour

September 24 Skills clinic, Hamilton, 11.00am
v Waicoa Bay Stallions, Hamilton, 2.00pm

September 25 Skills clinic, Tauranga, 10.00am

September 26 Skills clinic, Taupo, 3.00pm

September 27 Leadership course, Waiouru

September 28 Skills clinic, Palmerston North, 2.00pm

September 29 Skills clinic, Palmerston North, 10.00am

September 30 v Central Falcons, Palmerston North, 6.00pm

October 1 Skills clinic, Wellington, 10.00am

October 2 Skills clinic, Wellington, 10.00am

October 3 Skills clinic, Wellington, 10.00am
v Wellington Orcas, Wellington, 6.00pm