Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Big crowds turn out to cheer on sporting heroes

Fans cheer on the Chiefs at Growers Stadium in Pukekohe. Photo / Getty Images
Fans cheer on the Chiefs at Growers Stadium in Pukekohe. Photo / Getty Images

The Kiwi teams came out on top, but it was a dead heat in the battle of the codes as nearly 40,000 sports fans turned out to Super Rugby and NRL matches in South Auckland last night.

Every seat was sold at Mt Smart Stadium. The 19,012 fans in attendence squeezed into standing areas on the bank. It was easily the Warriors' biggest crowd of the season. The struggling Warriors put away the high-flying Brisbane Broncos 30 to 20.

Just 50km down the road, Growers Stadium in Pukekohe welcomed the all-conquering Chiefs with a crowd of around 20,000 boisterous fans.

And the Chiefs thanked them for their support as they continued their record nine-game winning streak and defeated the Lions 34 to 21.

The Chiefs fans screamed themselves hoarse.

Warriors coach Brian McLennan said the huge turnout had played a big part in his team's form-defying win.

"On behalf of the team, I really want to thank the crowd for coming out tonight. They were awesome. They got a Warriors chant going at an important part of the game and it means a lot to the boys. We really appreciate that support."

And former captain Steve Price was among the fans at the Mt Smart stadium.

He Tweeted: "@ Mt Smart and all seats have been sold @NZ-Warriors v Broncos so over 19k seated lets fill the hill with another 5k. Boys out warming up."

Police said that the traffic, as well as the beer, flowed freely all evening. There were no reports of arrests at either match.

- Herald on Sunday

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