Whangarei's hosting of its first fully fledged NRL trial match has not only been well received by local fans; it's been deemed a roaring success by Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.

Noting the Warriors' latest jaunt North proved a treat, Doyle said the turnout for the Warriors versus Gold Coast Titans fixture at Toll Stadium last Saturday delivered plenty of incentive for the side to return.

"It was an extremely good sort of day on Saturday, with lots of Warriors supporters and a great turnout. The boys absolutely loved it," Doyle said.

"Everyone seemed to be having a good time and enjoying themselves."


With close to 4000 tickets pre-sold, including a sell-out of the corporate options, organiser Alex Smits commented that the walk-up crowd brought the final tally of punters to almost 8500 at Toll Stadium.

In comparison, Northland's hosting of the Fifa Under 20 World Cup saw the crowd numbers reach a height of 5816.

While the Warriors are no strangers to Northland - featuring in two previous matches at Toll Stadium in the past - facing Queensland Cup sides the Burleigh Bears in 2011 and the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in 2012 - the lure of Australian franchises to the province is yet to prevail.

One leader in the Australian franchise prospects to visit Northland in the future could be the Penrith Panthers; a side which boasts a bevy of Northlanders including Sam McKendry, Elijah Taylor, Cory Harawira-Naera playing first grade for the club, and the likes of rising stars Caleb Aekins, James Fisher-Harris and Steel Kake playing in the junior ranks.

Due to each of the 16 NRL teams having to play 11 of their 12 home games at their home ground, this leaves only one round of competition open for each side to venture elsewhere.

But with more NRL clubs looking to cash in on league's popularity in New Zealand, a Whangarei NRL match could be on the cards in the not too distant future.

The Panthers' decision to take their NRL match against the Warriors to Christchurch in May looks to be paying off with almost a third of tickets sold three months prior to the May 14 clash at AMI Stadium.

However, with excellent crowd numbers for the Warriors v Titans fixture, there's good reason to suggest more will come if the Panthers choose to cash in on the winterless North.