Mouths gasped and eyes widened at the Ngongotaha Primary School Hall as the much-anticipated Vodafone Warriors entourage arrived.

The Rotorua school of 370 pupils was one of four visited today ahead of Saturday's game against the Melbourne Storm at Rotorua International Stadium.

Injured recruit Gerard Beale was one of those dropping by.

He won't be playing in this weekend's trial match but is hoping to be fit for the start of the upcoming season as he recovers from a broken leg.


Beale was joined at Ngongotaha by Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck , the younger brother of Roger, the captain.

Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck is on a second-tier one-year deal that will see him begin next season playing in the Intrust Super Premiership.

Their time at the school involved everything from quizzes to burpee competitions.

NZ Warriors players Gerard Beale and Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck are at Ngongotaha School.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Wednesday, 14 February 2018

"It is a treat, I look up to them, it is amazing," Cooper Simes, 10, said.

"I do not play rugby league but now I want to."

Brodee Hunter, 10, won a double pass to the game.

He said he hurried his family to get him to the gates in the morning.

"Come on we have to get to school the Warriors are coming," he told them.

Brodee said the visit made him want to be a Warrior.

Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck with Luke Douglas (7) at Ngongotaha Primary School. Photo / Stephen Parker
Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck with Luke Douglas (7) at Ngongotaha Primary School. Photo / Stephen Parker

Year 5 and 6 teacher Jamie Thompson said the kids were well behaved ahead of the mid-morning visit.

"They were so excited and hooked, it was awesome to see... It's not often we have visitors like this."

She said most of the kids knew who the Warriors were, and followed them.

"Because we are quite an active school, it is very good for them to see sports people they look up to.

"They are great role models. When they talk about the hard work they put in, it teaches the kids about our school values in real life."

Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck said he loved the visits.

"It is definitely one of the better parts of being a pro. I remember visits like this when I was a kid and it is cool to be able to give back."

Beale agreed.

"I always remember the visits from when I was younger. It gave me a lot of motivation."

Meanwhile Junior Warriors Keanu Laumatia-Paki and Junior Pauga visited Malfroy School.

The pair created a similar buzz to that at Ngongotaha and were welcomed by a mighty haka from the pupils.

Their first activity involved halving the school into two teams for a quiz.

One side called themselves the Warriors and when the other were asked what their name would be, "Storm" was shouted loudly by various students, much to the amusement of the Warriors members.

Gerard Beale with Ngongotaha Primary School students. Photo / Stephen Parker
Gerard Beale with Ngongotaha Primary School students. Photo / Stephen Parker

Warriors players also visited St Michael's School, Sunset Primary School, Aorangi School and Owhata School today and will drop by Horohoro School, Rotorua Intermediate School, St Mary's School, Whangamarino School, Western Heights Primary School and Selwyn Primary School tomorrow.

The 23-man squad will also be at the Rotorua Night Market in Tutanekai St from 7pm to 8pm tonight for a signing session.

A group will be at Harvey Norman tomorrow from 4.30pm to 5.30pm while there will also be a training run open to the public from 10.30am at Rotorua International Stadium.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.