Vodafone Warriors join work force
Saturday 8 December 2012 11:45 PM
All 37 players in the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL off-season training squad will have their hands full from early tomorrow morning when they find out what it’s like to be a working athlete.
It’s the result of a ‘Warriors Work Week’ initiative new Vodafone Warriors coach Matthew Elliott has hatched with the Glenn Family Foundation which will see the players work on 13 projects set to benefit between 2000-2500 pupils per week in Manukau City.
Working in three groups, the players will descend on a number of locations – mainly around the Otara area and principally at schools – to build garden boxes, dig holes, plant trees, hang shade cloth, build a cycle track and shift almost 100 tonnes of soil and aggregate.
The players’ schedule from Monday to Thursday will begin with field training sessions at Cornwall Park at 6.30 each morning, working on their projects from 9.00-3.00 and a strength session back at the gym at Mount Smart Stadium at 4.00 each afternoon.
“We’re doing this for two main reasons,” said Elliott.
“Firstly, it’s a great opportunity for the players to go into the community to do work on projects which will make a difference to people’s lives and at the same time enable the players to learn how much they mean to their supporters.
“And, secondly, we’re doing this so the players gain an understanding of what it’s like for most athletes, those striving to make it to the Olympics who have to get up early every morning to train, go to work to earn a living and then train again later in the day.
“We want the players to appreciate the opportunity they’ve been given.”
Working in conjunction with a number of organisations including the Garden to Table programme, the Glenn Family Foundation has put together a schedule starting with work tomorrow at Flatbush Primary School, East Tamaki Primary School and Sir Edmund Hillary College.
The area has special meaning for three of the club’s biggest names Dean Bell, Ruben Wiki and Manu Vatuvei as well as owner Owen Glenn. All hail from Otara, the first three all attending Sir Edmund Hillary College. Bell, the club’s foundation captain, is now in the role of general manager football operations; club legend Wiki is back with the Vodafone Warriors as strength and conditioning coach; and Vatuvei is about to enter his 10th NRL season after this year becoming the first player to score 100 first-grade tries for the club.
Before getting to work tomorrow, each of the groups will be tasked with coming up with a team name based on a club legend. Each day, each group will be allocated a project to work on which involves physical labour, newly acquired skills and will make a significant contribution to the community.
The four-day Warriors Work Week will culminate in the groups coming together at the Otara Scorpions Rugby League Club at Ngati Otara Park for a recycling sculpture project when they’ll work with local architects to come up with vertical garden solutions using 100 plastic bottles per team.
At the end of the week each school the players have visited will receive a Legacy Starter pack for their gardens, made up of an assortment of the donated tools used throughout the week.
A special feature of the week will be the opening of the first of three cycle tracks to be created in Otara.
Bike On, the charitable trust behind Bike in Schools, and the Glenn Family Foundation are working together on the tracks which will provide fun, safe and accessible trails for families to ride and walk on.
The Vodafone Warriors will make a special appearance at the opening of the track at East Tamaki Primary School on Tuesday morning. They’ll join a host of representatives from other sporting codes including Aussie rules, football, basketball, rugby union and touch as part of Counties Manukau Sport’s annual Have-a-Go day.
The second track for Otara, being built in collaboration with the Otara Papatoetoe Local Board (Preston Road Reserve), will serve Rongomai School as well as the surrounding community.
The Vodafone Warriors will be involved in the final preparations of the East Tamaki track tomorrow and will begin building the second track at Preston Rd Reserve on Tuesday as part of their week’s work.
Twenty-five bikes and helmets have been donated to East Tamaki School by both East Tamaki Rotary and Variety – The Children’s Charity. Variety is providing a further 25 bikes and helmets to Rongomai School, thanks to the support of Avanti and The Warehouse. This will allow students to use the tracks as part of their physical education curriculum, while also learning cycle and road safety tips from qualified trainers.
Owen Glenn believes the cycle track is a true example of what communities can achieve together.
“The collaborative nature of the project and the opportunity the bike track provides is a wonderful example of the community coming together to create something that will benefit many for years to come,” he said.
The week will provide an unforgettable initiation for the Vodafone Warriors’ newest signing Harry Siejka, who has his first training session with his new club tomorrow morning before embarking on the community project work.
• The Vodafone Warriors will be split into these groups for the four days:
Group 1: Trent Bishop, Glen Fisiiahi, Charlie Gubb, Siliva Havili, Sebastine
Ikahihifo, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Lousi, Sione Lousi, Simon Mannering, Alehana Mara, Ben Matulino, Dane Nielsen, Elijah Taylor
Group 2: Nathan Friend, Pita Godinet, Konrad Hurrell, Shaun Johnson,
Ngani Laumape, Jacob Lillyman, Todd Lowrie, Suaia Matangi, John Palavi,
Nathaniel Peteru, Sam Rapira, Harry Siejka
Group 3: David Fusitua, Ben Henry, Kevin Locke, Feleti Mateo, Atelea
Nafetalai, Russell Packer, Dominique Peyroux, Steve Rapira, Jerome Ropati,
Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Carlos Tuimavave, Bill Tupou
• The Vodafone Warriors will work on projects at:
Monday: Flatbush Primary School, East Tamaki Primary School, Sir Edmund Hillary College
Tuesday: Piripono Kaupapa, Rongomai School, Ngati Otara Marae Kohanga
Wednesday: Dawson Road Primary School, Back to Learning School, Preston Road Reserve, Wymondley School
Thursday: Crosspower, Mayfield Primary School (TBC), Otara Scorpions Rugby League Club