Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium is set to host a pre-season National Rugby League (NRL) match between the Vodafone Warriors and Penrith Panthers on Saturday, 16 February 2013.
The game is the only North Island NRL trial for the upcoming season and will be a first chance for Vodafone Warriors’ fans to see new coach Matt Elliot and several new signings in action.
Waikato Stadium has hosted the Vodafone Warriors previously, most recently in 2009 for a pre-season match against the Melbourne Storm.
Vodafone Warriors player Sam Rapira, who was born and educated in Hamilton, and whose younger brother Steve also plays for the team, says he is looking forward to once again playing in the city.
“It’s always great coming home with the Vodafone Warriors to play at Waikato Stadium and being among family, friends and all those hard core members and fans,” said Rapira.
“I’m really hoping Steve and I get to play together in this trial. It would be a first for us playing for the club in Hamilton.”
Event Facilities Director of Business Development and Marketing Murray Jeffrey says Hamilton’s central location means the announcement is not only exciting for local league followers but also for fans throughout the North Island.
“The beauty of Waikato Stadium is that it is just a short drive down State Highway 1 for Auckland’s strong Vodafone Warriors fan base and is also within comfortable driving distance for other league supporters throughout much of the central North Island,” he says.
The Penrith Panthers are due to arrive in Hamilton on the Tuesday prior to the game and will be using local training facilities which have already been visited by team management and given their tick of approval.
Tickets for the Vodafone Warriors vs Penrith Panthers game will go on sale the week beginning 5 November from Ticketek. Ticket prices are $23 for an adult, $10 for a child and $55 for a family (2 adults, 2 children), with corporate hospitality also available.
February is looking set to be an action-packed month of sports and events for Hamilton, with Waikato Stadium also set to be the venue for Nitro Circus on 6 February and Seddon Park playing host to English International T20 cricket on 12 February and New Zealand vs England One Day International cricket on 17 February.