Warriors stars attend fundraiser for Tonga's Cyclone Gita recovery

Stars from the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team turned up at a sausage sizzle fundraiser to show their support for Tonga's Cyclone Gita recovery today.

Tonga was smashed by Category 4 Cyclone Gita overnight, leaving a big clean up bill in its wake.

Albert Vete was among the league legends to show up at the fundraiser, telling 1 NEWS he had heard from his uncle back in Tonga.

"I heard from one of the uncle's sayiny 'the good thing about this is I had a bit of time to prepare'," Vete said.

Cyclone Gita is currently passing close to Fiji, affecting its southern islands.

The storm is expected to make its way closer to New Zealand later this week but the exact path is not yet known. 

Albert Vete was among those to attend a sausage sizzle fundraiser today. Source: 1 NEWS


'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



Benji Marshall, Johnathan Thurston possible headline players for Maori v Indigenous Australia clash

A proposed rugby league Test played between the New Zealand Maori and an Australian Indigenous side is reportedly on the cards for this year's representative weekend.

The Sydney Morning Herald report First Nations Goannas coach Laurie Daley and NZ Maori mentor Mark Horo came up with the idea for the two sides to clash later this year as part of the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League.

As part of the reported proposal, all State of Origin players who are not playing in Game II on Sunday 24 June will be available for selection by the Indigenous Australian side while Kiwi players not picked for the Kiwis' Test against England two days earlier will be available for the Maori.

That could see players such as Johnathan Thurston, Ash Taylor and Bevan Finch selected for the Australian outfit while the Maori side could have the likes of Benji Marshall, Kenny Bromwich and James Fisher-Harris at their disposal.

Daley told Stuff it would be terrific to add the encounter to the representative weekend.

"If they don't get picked for the test matches and the Origin side, there's an opportunity to get the rest of the best and play a game against each other.

"It would mean something. The [Indigenous] All Stars play the International All Stars at the start of the year but for the International All Stars, it doesn't mean a great deal. You play the Maori it would mean something. With our boys, there would be a rivalry."

Wests Tigers Benji Marshall.
Wests Tigers Benji Marshall. Source: Photosport