New Plymouth vying for Warriors-Manly game Published: 7:57AM Wednesday November 30, 2011 Source: Fairfax National Rugby League grand finalists Manly and the New Zealand Warriors could meet at Yarrow Stadium next year. New Plymouth District Council recreation and events manager Brent Thawley confirmed yesterday that they were working through a possible deal after being approached by an NRL agent several weeks ago about bringing the round 21 game to New Plymouth. "We are definitely looking at the possibility of that," Thawley said. "We're hoping that there will be a great deal of support from the community, but, like all of these things, it's about how do we make the commercial model work without the ratepayers having to stump up with any cash." The 2011 NRL grand finalists are arguably two of the most marketable sides in the competition. They are due to meet in the opening round of next year's NRL competition when the Warriors will take their home match from Mt Smart Stadium to Eden Park in order to maximise the game's commercial potential. The round 21 match has been scheduled for the period Friday, July 27 to Monday, July 30. However, Thawley has made it clear to the NRL that they want a Saturday night game. While it was expected the council would be asked to underwrite the match to some extent, Thawley said there were several commercial options they were discussing with the NRL. Advertisement "They have not really said exactly what their favoured model is, we are just looking at how it might work with local stakeholders, really," he said. The Auckland-based Warriors have never played a competition match at Yarrow Stadium. However, they played a preseason game against the Parramatta Eels in 2005, a fixture that attracted a crowd of 9500. Thawley was cautious about what sort of crowd they would expect to turn up to the proposed match, other than to give a broad range between 5000 and 15,000. "With a game like this, potentially, if all the stars are playing, I'm sure people would travel at least a couple of hours for it," Thawley said. "If we can get over the line with these guys, then we would be looking at what else we could do around the weekend to make it even more attractive for people to come through." The council does not know when the NRL will announce if the match is to be played in New Plymouth. However, it is unlikely to be any later than February, given logistical issues regarding travel and accommodation arrangements for both teams. Thawley felt the successful staging of three Rugby World Cup matches at Yarrow Stadium had enhanced the venue's reputation internationally, and the potential hosting of the NRL game was, in part, down to the tournament. He did not know if any other venues had been invited to bid for the match. "They have been very cagey about that," he said. "I'd be surprised if they haven't, let's put it that way." However, New Zealand Rugby League convener of selectors Howie Tamati had no doubts about the match being extremely well patronised if it was to come to Taranaki. "It would depend on how our bid stacks up against everyone else, but they (NRL) are keen to get Manly out there and play in other areas," he said. Providing the game was played on a Saturday night, Tamati believed that there was no reason why it could not attract a crowd of 15,000. "I think if we focus the marketing in the southern part of the North Island, it will do well," he said. "The popularity of the Warriors and the quality of the Manly side would certainly spark interest."