Rugby league fans won’t have to wait much longer for NRL action with the Vodafone Warriors and Melbourne Storm ready to fire up for a pre-season trial game at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium on February 20.
The game heralds a new era for the Warriors, who begin a three-year partnership with the Dolphins this season, connecting with fans in the Moreton Bay Region and offering rising stars in the Dolphins’ Intrust Super Cup side the chance to play on the big stage.
The NRL trial game will be the first chance to see the Warriors in action at their “home away from home”, in this new era.
With players and staff having already relocated to Tamworth to begin preparations for their 2021 NRL premiership campaign, Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George sees Redcliffe as the perfect location to put their pre-season training to the test against the 2020 Premiers, Melbourne Storm.
“Since announcing this landmark Trans-Tasman partnership in June 2020, we’ve been desperate to find an opportunity to get to Redcliffe and play at Dolphin Stadium, a venue that holds such great significance for Queensland and Australian rugby league.
“Starting the season in Australia isn’t what we wanted for 2021 but it’s what’s needed in this time of incredible uncertainty. Despite that, we are committed to fronting up and having a crack, so being able to play our first trial match in Redcliffe and share time with friends from across the Moreton Bay Region will be a wonderful experience for our club,” Mr George says.
Excitement will reach fever pitch by kick-off, with the game coming at the end of two special afternoons of rugby league at Dolphin Stadium.
It all starts with a captain’s run on Friday, February 19 at 5pm for 1000-1500 guests, including free admission to the first 600 NRL trial ticket holders who subscribe to Redcliffe Dolphins marketing upon purchase. Admission to the event will also be available to fans purchasing exclusive packages via Visit Moreton Bay Region.
On Saturday, February 20, footy action starts with the Redcliffe Dolphins and Western Mustangs’ Cyril Connell Cup (Under 16s) sides going head-to-head at 4pm. They will be followed by a Redcliffe Dolphins and Western Mustangs’ Mal Meninga Cup (Under 18s) side clash at 5.30pm.
The Vodafone Warriors and Melbourne Storm will kick off at 7.15pm. Tickets will go on sale via Ticketek on Tuesday, January 19 at 2pm.
At this time, the stadium is permitted to fill to 50 per cent capacity in line with Queensland Government COVID-19 restrictions. Both clubs are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.
“Dolphin Stadium was built for such an occasion and we’re hoping we can turn it into a fortress for the Warriors.
“The partnership between our two clubs is a genuine pathway for Dolphins players to the NRL, giving the Warriors access to some of the most promising players in the Intrust Super Cup.”
And the best of the Warriors’ players, who don’t make the top side each week, will play for the Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup when the season begins.
Warriors owner Mark Robinson met with Dolphins officials, Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery and Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe at Dolphin Stadium to celebrate the landmark deal in June.
At the time, he said the Dolphins and Vodafone Warriors were eyeing two premierships and a friendship that would help give the region’s business and tourism industries a welcome boost.
The trial game on February 20 is just the beginning.
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery is looking forward to game day.
“I can’t wait to witness the start of a brand-new winning combination between Moreton Bay Region and the New Zealand Warriors when we host the reigning premiers in Redcliffe,” Mayor Flannery says.
“Last year, the Dolphins signed an international agreement to create our very own New Zealand travel bubble that will be worth thousands of dollars to the local economy.
“So, I can’t wait to show off everything our beautiful region has to offer our new trans-Tasman allies, from our scenic hinterland to our pristine waterways and beaches.
“Not only will the players, support staff and coaching staff be staying locally, eating out and experiencing our tourism offerings, we hope this will open the floodgates to travelling fans.
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe says the trial game and the relationship with the Warriors is good for local business and tourism operators, who need a boost after a challenging 12 months.
“Our team is working with the Dolphins and Warriors as well as local businesses and operators to create accommodation packages to make the most of the expected increase in visitors to the region,” Mr Newcombe says.
“We’re excited about the potential to market the region to visitors from within Queensland and more broadly when travel restrictions ease. In the meantime, we’ll be giving interstate and overseas visitors plenty of reasons to put our region at the top of their travel wish list.”
For more details about the packages available, head here
Friday, February 19
5pm: There will be a captain’s run at Dolphin Stadium, following a COVID Safe small event plan. About 1000-1500 guests will have the chance to watch the session, including free admission to the first 600 NRL trial ticket holders who subscribe to Redcliffe Dolphins marketing upon purchase. Admission to the event will also be available to people purchasing exclusive packages via Visit Moreton Bay Region.
Game day program - Saturday, February 20
3pm: Gates open
4pm: Cyril Connell Cup (Under 16s) Redcliffe Dolphins V Western Mustangs (Toowoomba)
5.30pm: Mal Meninga Cup (Under 18s) Redcliffe Dolphins V Western Mustangs (Toowoomba)
7pm: Official opening of Dolphin Stadium northern grandstand
7.15pm: NRL trial game Vodafone Warriors V Melbourne Storm
Tickets will go on sale via Ticketek on Tuesday, January 19 at 2pm.