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New Zealand Warriors Jersey Flegg side with the Kaiviti Silktails.

Future Warriors NZ media.


Warriors head coach praises trip to Fiji for youngsters development

Head coach Andrew Webster praises the club's Jersey Flegg side’s visit to Fiji in efforts to grow the game.

Whilst some youngsters have been bolstering for the top side over the last few weeks, the club's Jersey Flegg side made a historic trip to Fiji over the weekend.

The under-21 side headed to Lautoka for a match against the Kaiviti Silktails, gritting a win against the home side 16-10.

Warriors head coach Andrew Webster said the opportunity for the youngsters to head abroad is great for the game.

“I think spreading the game (to Fiji) I love how Fiji are investing in that I know there’s a big thing around Papua New Guinea at the moment. I think spreading the game everywhere is very cool.

“Our young guys get that, an opportunity to go abroad. (They do) get to go to Australia, that’s a culture used to with but (going to Fiji) I think is really great to spread the game everywhere.”

Conditions in Fiji were a huge influence in the game, with a blistering 28 degree, 70 per cent humidity climate hosting the Warriors. It was a tight game between the sides, the Warriors coming back from being down 10-6 to score two more, winning the match by 6 points.

Warriors fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad said he was unaware the Jersey Flegg side were heading to Fiji, but praised the opportunity for the youngsters.

“It was really cool, I didn’t realise the boys were heading over to do that. But to have Fiji in the Flegg competition, I went and saw the draw and (I) saw they’re playing the other NRL clubs as well.

“It’s really cool for our game, really good for our boys to experience that. To be able to go there and play the game we’ve grown up playing must have been really special for not only them, but the people in Fiji too."

When asked about another potential Pacific test during the mid-year period, Nicoll-Klokstad was supportive of having more games for the Pacific teams.

“We were screaming out for it last year. We missed the Anzac test, the Pacific Nations test at the mid-year would have been really special.

“It’s always a really good time to represent your people, yourself and your people so hopefully we see the NRL bring it back.”

Growth of the NRL

Speaking on the growth of the game, a potential 18th NRL side has been making headlines with places like PNG, North Sydney and Christchurch as suggested host locations.

For New Zealand, Andrew Webster was quick to shut down having another team in the country.

“I really do hope we keep one team in New Zealand for a lot longer. Just keeping this product even better. People would say I’m being biased, that I’m holding back the country but no matter where you are in New Zealand right now they want to go home and watch the Warriors.

“The community from the top of the country to the bottom are behind the Warriors.”

The Australian Government and the NRL were closing in on a $600 million deal to secure an NRL team based in Papua New Guinea.