Warriors sent back to work for the week

HARD WORK: Warriors coach Matt Elliot is sending his side out into the workforce to show them just how lucky they are.
HARD WORK: Warriors coach Matt Elliot is sending his side out into the workforce to show them just how lucky they are.

The Warriors are set to go back to work tomorrow as the club's new-look coaching staff aim to show their playing roster just how lucky they are.

Head coach Matthew Elliott will tomorrow send his entire train-on squad out on a "Warriors Work Week" at South Auckland schools - a four-day initiative which will see his players construct vegetable gardens, dig holes, plant trees and hang shade cloth.

The squad will also build a cycle track in South Auckland.

Elliott said there were two main reasons behind the idea, including highlighting to the squad just how fortunate they were.

"We want the players to appreciate the opportunity they've been given," he said.

"We're doing this so the players gain an understanding of what it's like for most athletes, those striving to make it to the Olympics who have to get up early every morning to train, go to work to earn a living, and then train again later in the day." The second reason was to connect the 37-strong off-season training squad to its community.

"It's a great opportunity for the players to go into the community to do work on projects which will make a difference to people's lives and at the same time enable the players to learn how much they mean to their supporters," Elliott said.

The first-grade training squad has been broken up into three groups ahead of "Warriors Work Week".

In a move replicating "old school" league, the players will start each day with training sessions beginning at 6.30am at Cornwall Park. They will then have six- hours in the workforce, before gathering at the Mt Smart Stadium gym for strength training sessions.

While at work, they will complete 13 projects, which are expected to benefit between 2000-2500 pupils each week.

The schools to benefit include Sir Edmund Hillary College, where Warriors greats Dean Bell (its foundation captain and current general manager football operations), Ruben Wiki (ex-captain and current strength and conditioning coach) and Manu Vatuvei (set to enter his 10th season of first-grade) all studied during their teens.

The Warriors will make an appearance at the opening of the first of three new cycle tracks in Otara on Tuesday.

They will then start building the second of the three tracks at Preston Rd Reserve.

Club co-owner Owen Glenn said that the cycle track project was a great example of what communities could achieve together.

"The collaborative nature of the project and the opportunity the bike track provides is a wonderful example of the community coming together to create something special that will benefit many for years to come," he said.

The Glenn Family Foundation has helped put together the players' work schedule.

Tomorrow, players will work at Flatbush Primary School, East Tamaki Primary School, Sir Edmund Hillary College, before visiting Piripono Kaupapa, Rongomai School and Ngati Otara Marae Kohanga Reo on Tuesday.

Wednesday will see the groups work at Dawson Road Primary School, Back to Learning School, the Preston Road Reserve and Wymondley School.

The groups will be based at Crosspower, Mayfield Primary School and the Otara Scorpions Rugby League Club on Thursday.

Group 1: Trent Bishop, Glen Fisiiahi, Charlie Gubb, Silva Havili, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, Simon Mannering, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Dane Nielsen and Elijah Taylor.

Group 2: Nathan Friend, Pita Godinet, Konrad Hurrell, Shaun Johnson, Ngani Laumape, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lawrie, Suaia Matangi, John Palavi, Nathaniel Peteru, Sam Rapira, and Harry Siejka.

Group 3: David Fusitua, Ben Henry, Kevin Locke, Feleti Mateao, Atelea Nafetalai, Russell Packer, Dominique Peyroux, Steve Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Carlos Tuimavave, and Bill Tupou.

Sunday News