By NZ Warriors – Richard Becht
Head coach Luisa Avaiki has today announced Kiwi Ferns captain Laura Mariu will lead the Vodafone Warriors in the new NRL women’s premiership next month.
The legendary Mariu began her international career in 2000 and captained the Kiwi Ferns in last year’s women’s Rugby League World Cup final against the Jillaroos.
The 37-year-old Mariu has again underlined her leadership abilities this year by guiding the Counties Manukau Stingrays to success in the women’s national tournament and also savouring victory with the Manurewa Wahine in the Auckland women’s premiership.
“It wasn’t a difficult choice given Laura’s experience and all her achievements in rugby league,” said Avaiki.
“It was a pleasure asking her to take the role with the first Vodafone Warriors team in this inaugural NRL women’s premiership.
“Laura’s our most-decorated women’s player who has consistently achieved the highest honours in the game.
“She’s very capable, has served rugby league in this country with distinction and was always going to be the best choice for our team.
“She’s a dedicated, loyal and genuine team-mate who is well respected by her peers. She leads by example and demonstrates sound leadership in her playing ability, too.”
Previously with the Papakura Sisters, Mariu has played in each of the five women’s World Cup tournaments played so far – the first three all won by the Kiwi Ferns – and also represented the Kiwi Ferns in each of their three appearances at the NRL Nines at Eden Park in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Mariu’s contribution to rugby league was recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours when she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
Along with Vodafone Warriors team-mate Apii Nicholls, Mariu is now a constable with the New Zealand Police in the Counties Manukau district.
Born: December 2, 1980
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Club: Manurewa Marlins
Position: Loose forward/halfback
Rep Honours: Kiwi Ferns (2000-2018), World Cup (2000, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017), NRL Nines (2015, 2016, 2017), Counties Manukau Stingrays
Occupation: Constable, New Zealand Police