Proud Sea Eagles Member Hirone Waretini is set to enjoy one of his biggest ever days at AMI Stadium in Christchurch as the winner of the 18th Man promotion.
Following the success of the 18th man promotion leading into the season opening home game against the Eels earlier this season, the Sea Eagles set out to find our '18th Man' for our Round 14 clash against the Warriors in Christchurch, giving one Member a game day like no other.
Hirone is the lucky winner of the promotion, having been a Sea Eagles Member for many years.
As part of the 18th man prize, Hirone will enjoy the following:
- Attend the captains run on Friday
- Receive a commemorative Round 14 18th Man Jersey
- Toss the coin with the two captains pre-match
- Stand on field as the team warms up
- Run the ball onto the field prior to kickoff
- Sit in the players' dugout during the match
- Assist the training staff handing out drinks post-match
- Attend the post-match press conference
An excited Hirone said he was very much looking forward to experiencing the 'inner sanctum'.
I have been a Manly fan since 1986 – I was born and raised in a South Auckland town Papakura and even though I never played league, our local team in the Auckland comp was the Sea Eagles so there was always an affinity thereHirone
"To be able to share something like this with my son will be super special and really an honour. I know any proper Manly fan would be thrilled. I got on the phone straight away to my older brother who's also a Manly fan and told him – he's super stoked''.
"Being a Member means being part of a community. I am a member of a couple of sports teams that I follow and it's great to be a living part of the club you follow. It also means sometimes being the only Manly fan in the room and copping it but being proud to cop it and give it back. It's about sticking with the club through thick and thin regardless of what happens on the field, in the boardroom or the media. It's about remembering the greats past and present. It's legacy or whakapapa (genealogy) as we say in Māori".
Hirone also spoke about the significance of the Sea Eagles Ngāi Tahu jersey and special taonga Te Ātanga, the Broadhurst-Shelford Trophy.
"I work in Christchurch with Iwi (tribe) and Māori organisations so the efforts to connect and the awesome jersey and trophy designed by Fane are brilliant. I'm truly honoured to be part of this whole experience".