The Tigers are com­ing to town

Pre-sea­son tour­na­ment

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

The Bull­dogs last year, Tigers in 2014.

The New Zealand War­riors will be play­ing Wests Tigers at West­pac Sta­dium in round 4 of rugby league’s NRL on March 30.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the Bull­dogs fix­ture at West­pac last May — when more than 30,000 saw the Syd­ney side pre­vail 24-16 over the War­riors — Wellington rugby league’s gen­eral man­ager, Ja­son Hem­son, said it was im­por­tant to keep up the mo­men­tum.

‘‘There is a def­i­nite at­ti­tude in the NRL for the game to go away from the tra­di­tional strongholds [such as Bris­bane and Syd­ney],’’ he said.

‘‘ So we’re see­ing games in places like Perth, Dar­win, Syd­ney’s cen­tral coast and Wellington. ‘‘ It’s im­por­tant we pro­mote the game, get­ting to au­di­ences who may not have a chance to see live rugby league.’’

Hem­son said Wellington was essen­tially on trial be­cause the NRL was look­ing to ex­pand the com­pe­ti­tion. This was a chance for Wellington to put it­self for­ward.

The War­riors travel to Hamil­ton to play the Bull­dogs this sea­son, but the Tigers would be an ex­cit­ing prospect, Hem­son said.

‘‘They had a tough sea­son last year, but they have ex­cit­ing kids com­ing through, like Cur­tis Siro­nen and Luke Brooks, and the Wellington club rugby league’s pre­mier pre-sea­son tour­na­ment will be run over three week­ends from March 15.

All matches will be played on the Bernie Wood Field at As­cot Park, Porirua. ex­pe­ri­ence of the likes of Rob­bie Farah and Braith Anasta will be great to watch. ‘‘Round 4 is an in­ter­est­ing point in the sea­son. It’ll be a great oc­ca­sion and po­ten­tially an even con­test. ’’

The War­riors start with the Eels (away), Dragons (Eden Park) and Cow­boys (away), so could be off to a flier and be fizzing for the Tigers game, he said.

Hem­son said a Sun­day game was an op­por­tu­nity for the fam­ily to at­tend and was part of the NRL’s com­mit­ment for more matches on Sun­days.

The fi­nal on March 29 may be at­tended by of­fi­cials and play­ers from the New Zealand War­riors and Wests Tigers.

Games will likely be at 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm each day. En­try will be free.

He didn’t think there would be another 30,000-strong crowd, but was con­fi­dent of more than 20,000.

Wellington Phoenix play at West­pac Sta­dium on the Satur­day. That cre­ated a rare dou­ble-header that many would take ad­van­tage of, Hem­son said.

In the week lead­ing to the match he ex­pected fringe and in­jured War­riors to be avail­able at com­mu­nity events such as train­ing and au­to­graph ses­sions.

The War­riors v Tigers game be­gins at 2pm.

Photo: GETTY

Eye of the Tiger: Wests Tigers skip­per Rob­bie Farah will a key to his side’s suc­cess this sea­son.

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