While the Warriors taking on the Melbourne Storm is the headline act this weekend, expect plenty of fast-paced, hard-hitting action during the Bay of Plenty Nines Tournament in the lead up.
Fittingly, the Bay of Plenty sides will be playing for the McLeod Cup, named in memory of the late Peter McLeod - a man who played integral roles in both the creation of the Auckland Warriors and the success of Rotorua International Stadium.
In 1989 McLeod was made Auckland Rugby League chairman and his tenacious leadership was the driving force behind transforming the dream of an Auckland Winfield Cup team into reality. The Auckland Warriors came to life, taking on the Brisbane Broncos in their debut at a jammed-full Ericsson Stadium, on March 10, 1995.
From 2005 to his death in 2015 he was the Events and Venues Rotorua general manager, a role in which he secured trial matches at Rotorua International Stadium for the Warriors against the Sydney Roosters (2010), Parramatta Eels (2011) and Penrith Panthers (2015), while other sporting highlights included rugby league test matches involving the Kiwis and pool matches in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The fact that the Warriors are still playing trial matches in Rotorua is testament to his dedication and the lasting bonds he created.
His daughter Fiona McLeod said she looked forward to presenting the cup to the winners on Saturday, on behalf of her dad and the family.
"It means a lot to the family that Bay of Plenty Rugby League have chosen to honour dad in this way. We really appreciate the gesture and it is even more special that it ties in with a Warriors game held in Rotorua, two of his greatest achievements that form a big part of his legacy.
"Dad was a quiet achiever and humble about his successes. Although he didn't like being in the limelight, I am sure he would appreciate the recognition.
"He was quiet, generous, adventurous, innovative, driven and a man who always got things done. Dad achieved a huge amount in his lifetime in the sporting world, stadium development and event management. He instilled a huge love of sport, especially rugby league, into his daughters."
She said she was sure her father would be watching and enjoying the Bay of Plenty Rugby League Festival this weekend.
Entered in the McLeod Cup are Pikiao, Ngongotaha, Hamilton, Taupo, Mangakino and Pacific.
Organiser Graeme Hill said he expected the two-day tournament to provide plenty of entertainment and serve as a stepping stone for young up-and-coming players.
Entry to the Rotorua International Stadium, for the nines tournament, is free. The first games are being played at 5.30pm on Friday - the last game of the day kicks off at 8.25pm.
The tournament continues from 10.15am on Saturday, with a final to be played at 1.30pm, ahead of the Warriors against the Storm at 3pm. In between there will be curtain raisers played between local junior teams.