The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will be spreading their wings wide across Christchurch when they base themselves in the city ahead of their clash against the Vodafone Warriors on June 9.
The long list of community activities by the Manly players and staff was announced today during a lively video cross between the Manly training ground on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and students at the Haeata Community Campus in Aranui.
The student group which included the school’s rugby league teams and the sports performance academy questioned the likes of Kiwi international Martin Taupau and local Christchurch rugby league star Lewis Brown during a 20-minute live cross.
Manly have committed to play a home game in Christchurch in 2018 and 2019 with an option for a third match in 2020, and the list of community activities underlined the club’s commitment to Christchurch.
“We could have flown the team in two days before the game, but instead Walco Events have invested a considerable amount to have the team here for six days, so that they can connect with the grassroots rugby league clubs, schools and wider Christchurch community,” says promoter Justin Wallace.
After their arrival on the Tuesday June 5, there will be a pōwhiri welcome for the Manly team at the Nga Hau E Wha National Marae.
Manly have already created a strong bond with Ngāi Tahu who recently presented a specially designed Manly strip for the Christchurch matches to CEO Lyall Gorman at Tuahiwi Marae.
From the marae, the players will head to Wainoni Park for a skills session with junior players from around Christchurch, followed by a clinic for Canterbury coaches by the Manly technical staff. At the end of the clinics the team will open the gates to all fans and their families to meet the players in person, get a selfie and some autographs.
After their Wednesday training, the Sea Eagles will fly out across the region to deliver the NRL Well-being programme at 12 primary schools: Tuahiwi, Halswell, Te Waka Unua School, Haeta, Rawhiti, Northcote, St Anne’s, Linwood North, Bromley, Breens Intermediate and Cathedral College.
The Warriors will visit a further 12 schools, Kirkwood Intermediate, Bamford School, Riccarton Primary, Shirley Intermediate, Parkview School, Hoon Hay School, Kaiapoi Borough School, South Hornby School, Kaiapoi North and Cotswold Sh.
On Wednesday night, coaches Trent Barrett and John Cartwright will then make their way to the Christchurch Casino to host rugby league fans for a special State of Origin night.
On Thursday, the Sea Eagles will be offered several options to explore the city and its attractions before a Gala Dinner with players from both teams at the Casino.
On game day, June 9, local rugby league clubs will be heavily involved with junior curtain raisers before kick-off and a half-time relay where the faster club can win a $1000 cash price for their club thanks to AMI Insurance.
Sea Eagles chief executive Lyall Gorman reiterated that the club wants to create a long-term relationship with the city, having committed to matches in 2018 and 2019 and an option for a third match in Christchurch in 2020.
“We want to build a larger fanbase in New Zealand and you will see the Manly colours all over Christchurch,” says Gorman.
“We realise that there are a lot of Warriors fans in the South Island, but we hope that they realise that we are here to stay and the only NRL club that is truly committed to Christchurch. Maybe we can convert a few of them into Manly fans.”
Tickets for the game can be purchased on www.ticketek.co.nz/manlywarriors
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Vodafone Warriors, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, Saturday June 9, 5pm kick-off.
For more information or interviews, please contact Justin Wallace on 027 251 5210