Warriors captain and Nelson man Simon Mannering is getting plenty of home-town reminders today as Ben Henry and Jerome Ropati send him snapshots of home.
The pair are in Nelson for the South Island representative rugby league tournament in Tahunanui this week and Ben says while the action on the field was a highlight, so was the sun. “I was expecting grey and rain but it’s been sweet. We’ve been sending a few snaps to him [Simon], just of the sunny weather and things like that, so we’ll see what his response is.”
Ben and Jerome both played for the Warriors and are now club ambassadors. In that role they travel the country and spread the good word on the Warriors and rugby league in general.
Tasman Rugby League chairman Paul Rosanowski says having them in Nelson is a huge boost for the game. “It’s great to have them down here for the tournament and then to be able to bring them into the community.”
Jerome and Ben visited several sponsors of rugby league in Nelson, including Haven Reality, Quay Cars and Your Success, and then to Victory Boxing and Victory Square this afternoon. Paul says the response has been huge.
“They’re like a magnet. People have been getting selfies and autographs from them, it’s just amazing.”
Around 250 kids are in Nelson for the rugby league tournament. Paul says that’s been a huge event in itself and the play has been of a very high standard. “It’s great for the game and the problem for us at the moment is that there is no junior rugby league competition. I think this is the pathway to grow it but I don’t think a youth competition is that far away.”
Ben says he was impressed with the action on the pitch. “The boys were running hard. I think rugby league is a pretty simple game so if you run hard and tackle hard the results take care of themselves.”
The tournament wraps up tomorrow.