The rugby league community will once again rally for a good cause when the Storm and Warriors dedicate their pre-season trial game on February 19 to the people of Tonga.
The pre-season clash at Casey Fields in Melbourne will raise funds for the communities affected by the volcanic eruptions and tsunami last Saturday.
The Pacific nation has a rich and proud history of producing players who have starred at NRL at international level, including Storm premiership winner Felise Kaufusi, who played three Tests for Tonga between 2015-17, and Warriors Addin Fonua-Blake, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
A range of initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks to allow members and supporters of both clubs to donate to the cause at the 'Unite for Tonga' clash.
When tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster at noon this Friday, members and fans will be able to kick off the Unite for Tonga fundraising by making a direct donation via the purchasing process.
“Tongans have a proud history in rugby league and with Storm,” said Storm CEO Justin Rodski.
“We are honoured to be able to join with our friends at the Warriors for this special Unite for Tonga match to do what we can to help in this time of need.
“The full details of the destruction and impact of the eruption on the people of Tonga is still unfolding, but we want to make sure we have done our bit to support the island community as they look to rebuild.
“We hope the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors fans can dig deep to support the initiatives we have in place and that life in Tonga can return to normal as quickly as possible."
Match Highlights: Tonga Invitational v Australia
Meanwhile, Warriors CEO Cameron George announced on Tuesday that the club had begun working on a relief package for Tonga.
“Our hearts go out to Tonga and especially to the families and communities suffering at this difficult time,” said George.
“Tonga and its people have always held a very special place for us and always will.
“A number of players in our current squad have immediate family or wider family in Tonga. They’re feeling for them right now and so is everyone associated with the club.
“Throughout our history we’ve had strong ties with Tonga through a large number of former players and staff and also our support base.”
- Special Casey membership packages, including a gameday ticket, will also be on sale from Friday, as well as individual match tickets with discounts for Storm members.