Ruben Wiki was known as "Jake the Muss" on the field during his record breaking league career.
But Wiki says there is nothing tough about being a domestic abuser.
The hard as nails footy legend - who was dubbed the character played by Temuera Morrison in Once Were Warriors due to his toughness - wants people to come to Mt Smart Stadium to help him in the battle against domestic violence.
The Warriors take on the Melbourne Storm next Sunday; and the club has vowed they will donate $50,000 to four New Zealand charities if the ground is a sell-out. The amount will decrease depending on how many spare seats there are.
The ground has a capacity of 26,500 and among the charities is Shine - a national domestic abuse charity which is close to Wiki's heart after a tough upbringing.
The other charities are KidsCan, Paralympics New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Wiki, a White Ribbon ambassador and also the assistant strength and conditioning coach at the Warriors, is fiercely passionate about the charity Shine.
The 45-year-old's staunch anti-domestic violence stance stems back from his younger days.
His mother was a victim to family violence as he was growing up and the pain he saw her endure made him want to move to stop such things happening to other families, he said.
"I wanted to speak out against violence against women," he said.
"I grew up in Otara. My mother had a few relationships that were not pretty. My mother often got the rough end of the stick."
Wiki recalled a particular incident when his mother wore sunglasses to hide her black eyes.
"She was being treated by her boyfriend like a bloke. "
Her partner made no effort to change, he said.
Asking his mother permission to share their story was daunting for her at first but she came around when she understood the help it could bring others.
"It was a good way to heal the wounds for both of us.
"I think some families repeat those incidents, when they become parents they start the cycle but it can be stopped."
He encouraged people in high profile positions to champion talking about the issue of domestic violence.
"There are people that want to help. I am not the only high profile person that has spoken about it. It is not just a Polynesian issue or a European issue."
Although he was known as "Jake the Muss" for his intensity and passion on the pitch, once he stepped of he was a different person, he said.
"It helps me deal with stress but when I step off the field I go back being to a brother, father and a husband to my wife."
All that Wiki asked from the public was to head to the stadium and fill it up.
"Everyone has suffered somewhere across the timeline the more people we can help the better we will all be."
Warriors chief executive Cameron George said the charity drive was the first promotion of its kind in the NRL.
"As a club we're in a very fortunate position to give a lot back to our communities.
"The charities we've chosen certainly have played a part in either our fans' lives or in our players' lives. We have the benefit of doing that here at Mt Smart," he said.
"We're calling on our fans to play their part and help us pack the stadium out. We want to sell it out and raise as much money as we can for our fantastic charity partners."
The Warriors will get behind the charity as well by selling boots and jerseys to supporters and Vodafone will set up a "text-to-donate" number for the drive.
"It's a great concept and I think it's going to be an outstanding day," Warriors forward Adam Blair said.
"The boys love getting behind these things and I'll be the first one to put my hand up to donate something - it's a great thing, a great cause. We're really pumped for it."
The fixture on July 22 will kick off at 4pm next Sunday.
If you are in danger now
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz