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Warriors Target The Future With 2001 Line-Up

Auckland, New Zealand – 14 December, 2000 – The Warriors this morning announced a 25-strong squad line-up for 2001 during a sponsors’ breakfast at Ericsson Stadium. Combining experience with youth, the team roster (average age 23) includes a number of new names as well as experienced campaigners, Kevin Campion, Richie Blackmore and Stacey Jones.

General manger, Mick Watson, is delighted with the Warriors progress since the club’s new owners, Cullen Investments and the NZRL, took over less than two months ago. Watson says the Warriors will be fielding a competitive team in 2001 and is confident the squad will feature in the NRL top eight by 2003.

“I make no predictions as to where we’ll finish next year. But if we don’t make the top eight, I won’t be disappointed. We’re building a team for 2003. And I will tell you that in 2003 we’ll make the top eight, and we’ll make it the following year and the year after that.”

Warriors’ management plans to exploit New Zealand’s wide talent pool of 40,000 league players to build a young team for the future. Watson believes the balance of new talent and experience the team currently reflects is necessary for the transition phase, and coach Daniel Anderson’s expertise in talent identification and development will ensure the club’s goals are realized.

The Warriors are determined to achieve a focus on quality football, rather than the glitz previously associated with the side. Watson says the team will provide fans and grass roots supporters with what they are looking for – a credible squad.

“We want an emphasis on the footy, not the fireworks. The fans come to see the team play their hearts out and fight till the end. If they see a great game they’ll want to come back.”

Team sponsors have also been consolidated – incumbents Vodafone and Puma have reaffirmed their support for the Warriors, while an as yet unnamed third sponsor is expected b to announce its commitment shortly. Sponsorship agreements feature among a long list of successes highlighted today, including the appointment of a board, a general manager, coaching staff, the design of a new strip and the signing of a full team roster.

Watson’s vision for 2003 will reassure fans disappointed with the Warriors team of the past few years.

“It’ll be a young team – probably with an average age of about 22. The people you’ll see today are the pioneers in a sense. Some of them won’t be here in 2003. Some of the people you see today will be wise old heads by 2003. Others are part of our elite development squad. And they’ll move up over the next season.”

“We don’t plan to have any instant stars. Before we go down that route, we’ve got a job to do. We have to prove ourselves.”

The Warriors 2001 team is as follows:
Awen Guttenbeil, Henry Fa’afili, Monty Betham, Shontayne Hape, Stacey Jones, Jerry Seuseu, Jonathan Smith, Clinton Toopi, Mark Tookey, Wairangi Koopu, David Myles, Cliff Beverly, Jason Death, Nathan Wood, Richard Villasanti, Motu Tony, Richard Blackmore, Jason Temu, Frances Meli, Kevin Campion, Ali Lauitiiti, Justin Murphy, Ivan Cleary, Justin Morgan, Richard Utai.

Additionally, several players have been selected to join the elite development squad from which the Warriors will draw in subsequent seasons.


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