A host of Kiwis, NRL players and representatives of NRL clubs will join sixteen schools at the 2011 National Secondary Schools Rugby League tournament to be held at Bruce Pulman Park next week.
Ruben Wiki, who holds the record for the most tests played by a Kiwi, will address the participants at the tournament opener at Papakura High School on Monday morning where he will be joined by Tony Kemp, one time Kiwi and NRL Coach and now NZRL Football Manager.
Dean Bell, Kiwi Legend will be at the tournament all week, acting as one of four selectors responsible for choosing a Warriors Man of the Match recipient for each game and identifying players for the tournaments Merit team to be named at the tournament awards function.
The Vodafone Warriors will be at the ground on Monday from 12.30pm for a signing session prior to kick off of the first round. They will also play host to some of the visiting teams who are taking the opportunity to visit the Warriors facilities during the week.
On Tuesday seven Kiwis including Stacey Jones, Logan Swann, Jerry Seuseu, Richie Barnett, Ruben Wiki, Monty Betham and current Warriors player Jerome Ropati
will run position specific coaching clinics with the players from the 16 Secondary Schools. They will be assisted by NZRL staff, regional development officers and AUT Sport and Recreation students who are attending the tournament to gain work experience.
The Kiwis are donating their time to assist the players of the future with their growth and development by running coaching sessions which will offer skills and drills directly applicable to their positions on the field.
Tony Kemp said "We really appreciate these guys giving up their time to come and work with these kids. It's not just about the coaching sessions, although these are really important, it's also the fact that they're willing to take the time to give back that sets a great example to these guys.
"These Kiwi players are their idols, so having the chance to meet and mix with them is something which means a lot to the younger players."
In the evening selected players from each school will be attending a Leadership Module to be run by Vic Tamati and 'It's Not OK!' and they will follow this with visits to local Primary schools in the area on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday, the tournament semi finals run from 10am until around 1pm and will be followed by the tournament awards function to be held at the Otara Leisure Centre from 7pm. Stephen McIvor will be the event MC and Brian 'Bluey' McClennan, Warriors Coach for 2012 will be the guest speaker and present two awards - Team of the Tournament and Team Official of the Tournament. Past Kiwis Dean Bell and Tony Kemp will also be presenting awards, the Emerging Talent and MVP awards respectively.
Friday, the tournament culminates in Plate, Bowl and Cup finals. A number of NRL clubs including the Penrith Panthers
, Newcastle Knights
, Parramatta Eels
and Manly Sea Eagles have expressed an intention to attend the tournament and the finals day will undoubtedly be a focus for them.
For all tournament information please see our website www.nzrl.co.nz/national-secondary-schools.