Warriors to play Brisbane in a trial at Dunedin
football will be played in Dunedin for the first time following confirmation the Warriors will take on Brisbane in a trial match at the city's state of the art Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, February 23 next year.by NRL
football will be played in Dunedin for the first time following confirmation the Warriors will take on Brisbane in a trial match at the city's state of the art Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, February 23 next year.
It will be the final preseason hit-out for the Vodafone Warriors as new head coach Matt Elliott and his players eye the start of their 2013 NRL campaign.
While the Vodafone Warriors have played both official NRL matches and trials in the South Island before, it will be the first time the NRMA Broncos have ventured outside the North Island on trips to New Zealand.
It's fitting the clubs should create an NRL first in Dunedin almost 18 years after hatching their now well-entrenched rivalry on March 10, 1995, in the then-Auckland Warriors' debut outing in the old Winfield Cup competition.
"This is a terrific opportunity to not only play in the impressive Forsyth Barr Stadium but also to bring two NRL teams and some of the game's best players to Dunedin to create some history," said Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell.
"We know the Vodafone Warriors enjoy fantastic support not just around Auckland but throughout the country including the South Island.
"We're really looking forward to this visit and the chance to connect with fans in the south.
"It will also be a vital trial for both teams just ahead of the 2013 season."
A key attraction will be playing in New Zealand's newest, largest and most versatile indoor arena. Construction of Forsyth Barr Stadium was completed in August 2011, in time for last year's Rugby World Cup. Both the Vodafone Warriors and the Broncos have played indoors previously but only at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.
It's hoped this trial will be accorded elevated status with the possibility of it being televised live on SKY Sport in New Zealand and Fox Sports in Australia ahead of the traditional Charity Shield clash between St George Illawarra and South Sydney on the same night.
"This game will be a great event not only for the Broncos and the Warriors, but a great step forward for the game of rugby league in the South Island," said Terry Reader, Brisbane's general manager of marketing and commercial operations.
"We know we have thousands of fans across the Tasman and while those around Auckland get a chance to see us play every year, this will be an exciting opportunity for those in the South Island.
"It will be a special event at a unique stadium. We can't thank the Warriors and especially the management of Dunedin Venues enough. Their willingness to work to make this event happen has been a real breath of fresh air."
The last trial is traditionally used by coaches to field their strongest available line-ups in the final tune-up before the season proper. New Vodafone Warriors signings Thomas Leuluai, Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie will all be in contention to play along with the club's established frontline players Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Nathan Friend, Feleti Mateo, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer, Elijah Taylor and Shaun Johnson plus emerging youngsters like Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell and Carlos Tuimavave.
The Vodafone Warriors will confirm details of their full trials programme soon.
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