War­riors hon­oured at packed lun­cheon

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Meet the new­est mem­bers of the Voda­fone War­riors 10-sea­son club.

League stars Manu Vatu­vei and Jerome Ropati have each chalked up an amaz­ing decade-long record with the fran­chise, join­ing a small group of past play­ers in­clud­ing Stacey Jones, Awen Gut­ten­beil and Lance Ho­haia.

Both were hon­oured dur­ing a packed tes­ti­mo­nial lun­cheon at the Eller­slie Con­ven­tion Cen­tre last week.

The event was or­gan­ised by the Mad Butcher and Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers Com­mu­nity Trust and driven by found­ing trustee Sir Peter Leitch – a long-time sup­porter of the game.

Vatu­vei, 27, has just signed a new two-year con­tract with the club and is on track to equal the 12 NRL sea­son record pre­vi­ously set by Stacey Jones. Ropati, 28, is one of only six play­ers to score 50 NRL tries for the club, de­spite a ca­reer ham­pered by in­jury.

Both men were joined on stage by their wives at var­i­ous points through­out the event as a mixed crowd of sport­ing per­son­al­i­ties, league stars, fam­ily mem­bers and die-hard fans paid trib­ute.

‘‘It was a spe­cial oc­ca­sion,’’ Sir Peter says.

‘‘And a great op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to come along to hon­our Manu and Jerome for ev­ery­thing they’ve done for the Voda­fone War­riors.’’

Dou­ble whammy: Manu Vatu­vei and Jerome Ropati, pic­tured at the Eller­slie Event Cen­tre.

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