NRL: Warriors to play in Hamilton

The Warriors will play Penrith in a pre-season match at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, in February.

The Auckland-based club today announced they will play the Sydney club on Saturday, February 16, the only trial they will play in the North Island ahead of their 2013 NRL campaign, with the club's third and final build-up match against Brisbane set for Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, February 23.

The Waikato Stadium match will have special significance for new head coach Matthew Elliott as it will be his first in charge on New Zealand soil.

"It's going to be really exciting taking our club to Hamilton for what will be an important trial for us ahead of the NRL season,'' he said.

Warriors general manager of football operations Dean Bell said the trial provided a great opportunity for the club to connect with a region renowned for its strong support and production of rugby league talent.

"We've got so many members and fans from Waikato and near by areas like Bay of Plenty and Thames Valley who travel to our games in Auckland. Now they will have the chance to see the Vodafone Warriors much closer to home,'' he said.

"It's also close enough for supporters from Auckland to make the trip. We're certainly hoping people turn out in big numbers at a time when the NRL season will be just a few weeks away.

"The Waikato area is equally important to us in terms of the playing talent produced there.

"We have Sam and Steve Rapira, who hail from Hamilton, in our squad and a number of others from the region have been involved in our system.''

The trial will mark the Warriors' first visit to Hamilton since their 2009 trial against the Melbourne Storm. The club played Parramatta in NRL `away' games at Waikato Stadium in 2005 and 2006 and has also had trial matches at the ground previously.

Tickets for the trial are due to go on sale on Monday, November 5.

Warriors 2013 NRL trials:
Saturday, February 9 v Gold Coast Pizzey Park, Burleigh
Saturday, February 16 v Penrith, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday, February 23 v Brisbane Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin


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