'Everyone wants to be supporting a winning team' - Warriors CEO urges fans to keep the faith in 2018

Warriors CEO Cameron George is urging the struggling side's fans to keep the faith, as the club continue their preparations for the 2018 NRL season.

Following a disastrous year, that saw the Warriors slump to an embarrassing club record nine straight defeats to end the season, the club's membership numbers have dropped by around 4,000 from this time 12 months ago.

Speaking to the Sunday Star Times, George urged fans to get behind the team, saying that things will improve after the lows of 2017.

"From my perspective and the organisation's perspective, we're working very hard off the field to make our experience on game day attractive," he said.

"For those that are still scratching their heads on whether or not they should support the team, the message I've got for them is very clear, that the boys on the field are going to represent them with passion and commitment.

"It's up to us to get them back to the stadium, we know that and we've prepared for that and we're going to go out and represent our fans and hopefully that grows our membership base through the season."

George also says that the organisation understand that only one thing will see fans return to Mt Smart Stadium for the new season: results on the pitch.

"Everyone wants to be supporting a winning team," George said.

"Our players know that and they take it very seriously.

"At the end of day we all have to win across the organisation to make it really attractive for people to become our members."

The Warriors begin their 2018 NRL campaign against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Perth on March 10.

The Kiwis' skipper won’t take the reins at his new club.
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck Source: Photosport



'There are some weaknesses' – Tonga looking to inflict more pain on Kangaroos

Mate Ma'a Tonga are eyeing a wounded Kangaroos side, preparing to take on Australia for the first time in a Test match on Saturday.

After the Kangaroos' 26-24 defeat to the Kiwis last weekend, the Pacific nation are looking to rub salt in the wounds of Mal Meninga's side, hoping to hand them back-to-back defeats.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, five-eighth Tui Lolohea spoke about the prospect of facing an inexperienced Australian outfit.

"We can take a little bit of confidence out of that," he said.

"Seeing that there are some weaknesses in their team, we can capitalise on those.

"We're going to have to wait and see how it unfolds, and where those opportunities are."

The Mate Ma’a Tonga star wants to see another upset when the two sides meet this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS



'They're still the world's best' – Tonga happy to play underdogs ahead of Kangaroos Test

Despite the Kangaroos' 26-24 loss to the Kiwis on Saturday, Mate Ma'a Tonga are considering themselves as the underdogs for when the two sides meet in Auckland this weekend.

For the first time in history, Tonga will face Australia in a Test match, with the Pacific nation eyeing up another upset victory over a major nation, having stunned the world at last year's World Cup by beating New Zealand.

Speaking to media today though, star prop Andrew Fifita says that the opposition are, and should remain the favourites for the weekend's encounter.

"In our eyes, they're still the world's best," he began.

"They're the current world champions, and we've got to treat them with the utmost respect."

Fifita also declared that Tonga's challenge will be more difficult, with the Kangaroos now in a backs to the wall situation, hoping to avoid back to back defeats.

"They're going to be firing, and want to get that 'W' against their names.

"It's going to be a tough job for us - we are the underdogs.

"We had a good campaign last year, but that was last year.

"It's exciting times, and I can't wait to play on Saturday night.

Mate Ma'a Tonga face Australia for the very first time this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS



Andrew Fifita opens up about picking Tonga over Australia - 'I'm very grateful that I come from two nationalities'

Mate Ma'a Tonga star Andrew Fifita has opened up about his decision to turn his back on the Kangaroos in favour of the nation of his heritage, as the two sides prepare to meet for the very first time this weekend.

Fifita, 29, turned down the chance to represent Australia at last year's World Cup, instead joining a number of high profile stars in representing Tonga, with the Pacific nation going within one refereeing decision of making the final.

Speaking to media in Auckland this afternoon, Fifita revealed the thinking behind his decision, as he prepares to face his former side.

"I'm blessed," he began. "I'm very grateful that I come from two nationalities.

"If I look back on my childhood, I have to give something back to my father.

"You can tell how much it means to our people, and to the island of Tonga, you're going to see them turn out on Saturday night."

The Tonga prop will line up against his former side at Mt Smart Stadium this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS


'The boys thrive off the energy' – Tonga stars' message to fans ahead of Australia clash

Mate Ma'a Tonga stars Andrew Fifita and Tui Lolohea have issued their rallying cries to supporters, as the Pacific nation prepares to face Australia for the very first time in a Test this weekend.

With legions of Tongan supporters having descended on Auckland, and with Saturday's clash expected to be a sell-out, it's expected that Mt Smart Stadium will be a sea of red once again for the historic match.

Speaking to media today, Fifita was quick to thank supporters for their continued backing of the team.

"This game means the world to us," he began.

"It's our first game ever we get to verse Australia.

"We're forever grateful that everyone's stayed loyal, we have a shot against the world's best.

"It's exciting times, it's going to be an amazing atmosphere."

Lolohea spoke about the effect of the fanatical Tongan supporters.

"The boys thrive off the energy and the passion that they bring from the sideline.

"It's helped us a long way in the World Cup, and I'm pretty confident that our fans are going to be roaring non-stop."

Tui Lolohea and Andrew Fifita are grateful for the fanatical support their side receives. Source: 1 NEWS