The Vodafone Warriors' trial match against NRL premiers Melbourne Storm in Rotorua is "full steam ahead", despite news the Storm will play a World Club Challenge match at home the day before.

The February 16 match against Super League champions Leeds at AAMI Park in Melbourne was confirmed yesterday - the Rhinos' first WCC outside of the UK and only the third time the decider will have been played in Australia.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his Kangaroos representatives would only have a few weeks' preparation but he expected to field a strong side.

The Warriors and Storm will play a trial at Rotorua International Stadium on February 17, headlining a two-day Festival of Rugby League in the city.


Vodafone Warriors media manager Richard Becht confirmed to the Rotorua Daily Post today the Leeds match did not affect plans for Rotorua and it was "full steam ahead".

"We are totally committed to the event and we are as excited as we ever were."

Through their Harvey Norman Community Warriors programme, the Vodafone Warriors will have a strong presence in Rotorua leading up to game day when they'll be out and about in the community. The feature of the activity will be a packed schedule of school visits.

While the Storm side was now likely to be made up of mainly second-string players, Becht said the Warriors' side for trials was traditionally made up of a mixture of emerging and experienced players.

In the equivalent trial this year against the Storm on the Sunshine Coast a number of Warriors' stars took the field.

The Warriors play a second trial against the Gold Coast the week after the Rotorua match.