Warriors make an impression in Kaitaia

By Dean Nathan

The Warrior's rugby league squad are in the far north in an effort to lift the spirits of the Kaitaia community while getting in some pre-season training. 

Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney says, "Talking to a lot of the locals they don't get many opportunities like this and for us it was about hearing there was a bit of a call out to try and bring the team up here. I thought it was a good opportunity in the middle of pre-season to have the team come up and spend some time together and also contribute back to the North community."

Nearly 1200 children from the Kaitaia district turned up to meet some of the stars of rugby league.

Halfback Kieran Foran says, "I just think coming to a place like this is something I haven't experienced before and I just think it's brilliant to come this far up north and see how much of an impact we have on the community here. I just know not only do they get a lot out of it, but we do as players."

Their visit north doubles as a homecoming for rugby league legend Stacey Jones who says today's focus was on engaging with the people and showing the kids what they are capable of achieving,  

"It's a great place I've spent a lot of my time up here and have whānau from up here. For us they can give us something you know it's been pretty tough in our environment and if the community here gives us something I'm sure we'll look back on it and it could be a good year for us," says Jones.

An even bigger crowd is expected at the Arnold Ray Park tomorrow to watch their pre-season training.  

"You know the boys are ticking over really well working hard so tomorrow will be another day on the pre-season programme and we'll be looking to whip them into shape tomorrow too," says Kearny.