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Wigan look to play warm up against Warriors Sister club

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League: Wigan lined up to play Warriors in pre-season

By Michael Burgess

5:30 AM Sunday Dec 8, 2013
SCCZEN_230913GTYTOM180418064_300x200.jpgSam Tomkins first game for the (New Zealand) Warriors could be against the (Wigan) Warriors. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors look set to play a match against British Super League champions Wigan in February.

According to sources in England, the British team will come to this country en-route to Australia, ahead of their World Club Challenge match in Sydney on February 22.

Wigan had been seeking an additional game in the Southern Hemisphere ahead of the game against the Roosters, and had even explored the challenging prospect of a fixture in Port Moresby against Papua New Guinea. However, it seems they have settled on a game against the Auckland club, further developing the relationship established last year.

The match raises the intriguing possibility that Sam Tomkins' first match for the New Zealand Warriors could be against the Wigan Warriors.

Thomas Leuluai could also face his former team-mates, if he has recovered from the injury he picked up at the World Cup.


Details are still to be finalised but if the match goes ahead, it is likely to be played at Waikato Stadium in mid-February. It would continue a growing tradition of league in Hamilton. The stadium hosted a trial match last year against Penrith and the Bulldogs will stage a 'home' match there during the NRL season.

If the game gets the green light, it will also mean a packed pre-season schedule for the Warriors, with games already locked in against the Titans on February 9 at North Harbour Stadium and the Broncos on February 23 in Dunedin, as well as the Auckland League Nines on the weekend of February 15 and 16.

The last time the Warriors faced British club opposition was in 1997, during Super League's World Club Challenge series. They played three matches in England, before games against Bradford, St Helens, Warrington and Bradford (quarter-final) in Auckland and Christchurch. They won all seven matches before losing to Brisbane in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Tomkins arrives in Auckland tomorrow morning for a week-long promotional visit. As well as being presented to sponsors, fans and media, he will also meet his new team-mates for the first time and visit Warriors' headquarters. Among other items on his agenda are a Sky Tower jump and a fishing trip on the Hauraki Gulf, as well as three separate Christmas functions.

Tomkins, who will be house hunting during his stay, is expected to attend the league versus rugby themed Fight for Life boxing event on Saturday.

- Herald on Sunday

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Yeah it would cement the Sister club arrangement between the Warriors organisations beyond the NZ Warriors buying out Wigans Star player. 

I will get along for this one if I can , It's going to be a busy preseason , I've got the Auckland nines locked in as well , I usually wait for the season proper before going to games.....but the opportunity to see the Legendary Wigan Warriors in the flesh is too good to pass up on.


I will be cheering on the Wigan Team , as a supporter of both clubs I can't lose , it's a friendly and well me local club will have plenty of support there.


Better get that Cherry and White Kit I've had on the budget list for some time now......the Old Scarf won't cut it in Summer.


Tomkins has a busy schedule lined in the Hauraki Gulf....I'll be taking my kids next friday to do that very thing on a charter boat....he will have a ball here......

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Interesting choice. Seems odd to add an extra country to a gruelling trip but if we can cope with the travel it should be a wonderful experience for our boys. I am a big believer that we need to put on more events for our top players, whether or not they make money. They deserve to feel as if they are playing in a major sport and can get to see the world.

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I thought wigan were playing a warmup game in png on there way to Australia  it was mentioned in the aussie press at the time the wcc game was announced

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I thought wigan were playing a warmup game in png on there way to Australia  it was mentioned in the aussie press at the time the wcc game was announced

That's right but the NZwarriors have agreed to stand in for PNG if the arrangements don't happen as planned.


I know a lot of Wigan Fans thought that the Sister Club arrangement was mere lip service to appease Wigan fans , but nothing could be further from reality with the Auckland Warrirors being prepared to answer the call from Wigan if needed to help their WCC bid.


As for the travel concerns mentioned above , no club in the NRL could advise Wigan better on dealing with transtasman travel in the competition than the NZWarriors.


Against the Roosters the NZWarriors narrowly lost at home , then defeated them at their home match in Sydney latter in the Season.

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An older article before todays announcement. underscores the pressure NZW are taking on to meet their commitments to new Partners Wigan :

Scurrah dampens Warriors vs Wigan rumours
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2013

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah has downplayed rumours that the Mt Smart Stadium-based NRL side are lining up a pre-season trial with Super League champions Wigan Warriors early next season.

Wigan will travel to Australia next February, where they are scheduled NRL champions the Roosters in the annual World Club Challenge fixture.

Though a date for the game is yet to be announced, it is likely to be played in Sydney on February 22.
It is understood that Wigan will travel Down Under two weeks before the match to acclimatise.

Wigan Today reported earlier in the week that the Super League champions were in talks with the Warriors, and Papua New Guinea, about a potential warm-up match before the Sydney game.

However, Scurrah has poured cold water on the rumours, saying the February window for a game against Wigan is already too tight for the Warriors.

"We've said we want to establish a relationship with Wigan, but we haven't confirmed anything for the coming season," Scurrah told Sunday News.

"We want to play trial games against each other at some point, but nothing is planned at this point.
"The reality is that whilst the desire is there, the schedule is pretty tight."

The Warriors traditionally play three pre-season trials every season, with matches against the Titans at North Harbour Stadium on February 9, and the Broncos at Dunedin's indoor stadium on February 22, already penned in.

The weekend that separates the two scheduled trials will see the Warriors, and all 15 other NRL sides, take place in the first NRL Auckland Nines tournament, at Eden Park on February 15 and 16.

Next year's NRL fixtures are yet to be announced, but last year's NRL season started on March 7 and the 2014 edition would likely be around a similar time.

Sccurah is in the United Kingdom, where he met Wigan owner Ian Lenagan on Friday to discuss links between the two clubs.

Scurrah, who attended the Kiwis World Cup semi-final against England in London this morning, also bought over spare pairs of football boots over for the Warriors members of the national squad.

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Email to NZWarriors members :


Clash of the Warriors’ confirmed for home of the Chiefs’

History will be created with a ‘Clash of the Warriors’ when the NRL’s Vodafone Warriors take on Super League’s Wigan Warriors at the home of the Chiefs in Hamilton on February 12 next year (7.30pm kick-off).

The Waikato Stadium match could also coincidentally see new Vodafone Warriors recruit Sam Tomkins making his first appearance for the club against his old side.

Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah and Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan today confirmed the trial as the northern and southern hemisphere clubs continue to forge their relationship.

Super League winner Wigan sought the contest as a warm-up to its World Club Challenge encounter with the NRL premiership-winning Sydney Roosters set down for Allianz Stadium in Sydney 10 days later on Saturday, February 22.

The Vodafone Warriors will now have three trials ahead of the 2014 NRL season as well as the trailblazing Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park on February 15 and 16.

“We hugely appreciate the Vodafone Warriors being able to help us as we prepare for the World Club Challenge against the Roosters,” said Lenagan.

“It’s been 20 years since the challenge was played in Australia and we are doing all we can to be ready be for the contest.

“Quite apart from the importance of the warm up game, being able to bring the two Warriors clubs together like this for the first time is great not just for us but for the fans and the game itself.”

With the match added to a programme of trials against Gold Coast and Brisbane plus the NRL Auckland Nines, Scurrah said Vodafone Warriors members and fans were in for a feast of early-season football.

“This is a fantastic joint-venture opportunity for our two clubs and another sign of how we would like to continue to work together,” said Scurrah.

“It means we’ll have a hugely exciting programme of preseason football taking us from Albany to Hamilton, Auckland and then Dunedin all in the space of 15 days.”

Whether Tomkins will be able to line up against his old Warriors is yet to be decided with Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott and his staff now looking to cover selection requirements for three NRL trials and the Nines.

“We’ll wait and see on who will play which trials and who we’ll settle on for the Nines,” said Elliott.

“We won’t have a full squad back in training until January 13 so there’s a long way to go yet before we make our decisions.”

Tomkins is one of only three England or Great Britain players to be contracted by the Warriors after Denis Betts and Andy Platt were part of the club’s foundation side in 1995.

Playing links between the two clubs are strong with Wigan legend Dean Bell being the club’s first captain and former All Black Frano Botica signed by the then-Auckland Warriors for the debut season as well. Other former Vodafone Warriors who played for Wigan at some stage of their careers include Phil Blake, Doc Murray, Brady Malam, Jerry Seuseu, Quentin Pongia, Iafeta Paleaaesina and, most recently, Thomas Leuluai. Vodafone Warriors coaches John Monie and Frank Endacott also coached Wigan.

The World Club Challenge was first contested in 1976 but has been played on annual basis – always in England – only since 2000. The only other matches played in Australia were the original encounter between Eastern Suburbs and St Helens at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1976 and Wigan’s win against Brisbane at ANZ Stadium in 1994

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