WARRIORS, BRONCOS EMBRACE HAWKE'S BAY IN LEAD-UP TO HISTORIC NAPIER CLASH

NZ Warriors are just a day away from making history in Napier, as they prepare for their first game in Hawke's Bay.

Both them and the Brisbane Broncos have been welcomed into the region with open arms.

And the visit has some extra incentives with free tickets given out for those completing their census. 

Warriors frenzy has hit the bay, as fans flocked to McLean Park to meet their heroes.

"[We're] feeling a really good buzz around Napier," said assistant coach Stacey Jones. 

A buzz that Statistics New Zealand is keen to capitalise on, offering free tickets to those who filled out a census form - no matter how big your family.

"I was lucky enough to fill out 12 forms before they all went," one fan told Newshub.

The trip is a homecoming for Hastings-born captain Tohu Harris, welcomed back onto Waipatu Marae with his Warriors team.

"It's a rare occasion, and one that will stick with me for the rest of my life," he said.

Brisbane have lost three of their last four matches, and have five players out on State of Origin duty.

But the Warriors aren't expecting an easy night in Napier.

"I think that's just going to mean they are going to come out with a lot more enthusiasm, and a lot more energy," Harris added. 

The Broncos have also been embracing the Hawke's Bay community, visiting Eskdale School in the cyclone-devastated Esk Valley.

"It was just a warm feeling seeing the kids sitting down with smiles on their faces," said Brisbane's Kiwi forward Jordan Riki. 

"They are obviously really excited to see us."

Stacey Jones is hoping the Warriors' first visit to Napier might pay off in years to come.

"Hopefully a week down here, and what the club's done, hopefully we will produce some future Warriors."

And with McLean Park sold out, what kid wouldn't dream of being out there themselves one day.

2023-05-26T07:01:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd