AAP Rugby

Terror attacks spur emotional Warriors

By AAP Newswire

Anguish and a sense of helplessness in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks have translated into a Warriors NRL performance they say was dedicated to all Kiwis.

Players at the Auckland-based club spoke of a sense of duty after the 40-6 win over Canterbury on Saturday, determined they could provide some cheer, however small, in the wake of a gunman taking at least 49 lives and injuring dozens more at attacks on two mosques.

Christchurch born and raised forward Jazz Tevaga spent Friday ensuring friends and family were safe.

Rugby league was an afterthought and he wondered if the opening-round match would be cancelled, like a number of other sports events in New Zealand, including the Crusaders-Highlanders Super Rugby match.

Tevaga sensed his teammates felt the same when they gathered for a match-eve meal and he sought out coach Stephen Kearney.

"My heart was very heavy. It wasn't sitting with me well and I thought it was appropriate that we get all the boys together and have a few words. I knew we were all feeling it," Tevaga said.

"I just didn't want to believe it that something like that could happen in New Zealand - somewhere that you feel safe."

Winger David Fusitu'a led a prayer and the players opened up on how they felt.

They did the same on match morning before they turned in a compelling display in front of a crowd of nearly 19,000 after the club opened the Mt Smart Stadium gates as a goodwill gesture.

"We had a lot to play for - the whole of New Zealand was feeling it - so we just wanted to try and get the win and try and instil some positivity back into New Zealand," Tevaga said.

"It was good to put some smiles on some faces."

Tevaga hopes they can repeat the dose when the Warriors head to Christchurch for their round-three match against Manly later this month.