The Warriors rolled into town today and made the day of hundreds of kids, with hulking props Russell Packer and Sam Rapira among those to visit Hamilton schools ahead of their NRL trial match against the Penrith Panthers in Hamilton tomorrow.
Packer is currently on the injured list, while Rapira was going to take the field with younger brother Steve - however both siblings have suffered niggles and won't be risked at Waikato Stadium.
The duo were joined at six schools today by Nathaniel Peteru and Suaia Matangi of the Junior Warriors - who are playing the curtain raiser today against the WaiCoa Bays Stallions representative side - as well as former Warriors Stacey Jones and Jerry Seuseu, who are part of community activities with the club.
The same Warriors crew, along with non-playing Panthers Sika Manu, Mose Masoe and James Roberts turned out at lunchtime at Garden Place, while Warriors players were also in store this afternoon at DTR and Sports Safari.
Tomorrow Warriors coach Matt Elliott, former Warrior and now strength and conditioning coach Ruben Wiki, along with two Warriors players will breakfast at The Helm as part of Newstalk ZB's regular 8-9am Saturday sports show, which will be broadcast from the restaurant.
From 10am till 1pm there is a Community Roots Carnival for kids on the surrounding fields of Waikato Stadium and the entire Warriors squad will attend the first half hour of that.
Waikato Stadium's gates open tomorrow at 1.30pm, with the Stallions-Junior Warriors contest kicking off at 1.45pm, before the Warriors-Panthers fixture at 4pm.
There will be some Waikato connection among the officials tomorrow, with Lance Bullen and Dwayne Hibbs being touch judges for the curtain raiser and main game respectively.
Ticket sales have been strong, with at least 10,000 expected to attend.
Tickets can still be purchased from the Ticketek outlets and website or from 10am for an increased price at the gate.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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