Napier hosted its first-ever NZ Warriors game this past weekend, and so many people invaded the pitch that it’s probably the last game they’ll host too.
TikTok videos show a hectic amount of people storming the field throughout the match. At times, multiple people would try to run onto McLean Park at once, leaving security scrambling. One fan told Newshub they counted 26 pitch invaders over the course of the match.
The Warriors ended up losing to the Brisbane Broncos 26 - 22 with captain Tohu Harris saying the constant interruptions caused by pitch invaders were a pain.
“It gets really annoying to be honest, especially when we're trying to build ourselves back into the game," Harris said in the post-game presser. "It just burns, knowing that the other team is getting a rest, when we just want to keep going at them and keep trying to build pressure.”
"It's not ideal… but something we can't control and we just have to make sure we're ready to go once play starts again. I'm glad we got ourselves back into the game, but pitch invasions... we really can't do anything about them."
Many Warriors fans shared Tohu’s feelings regarding the pitch invaders, including one “uncle” who was filmed by TV cameras telling someone to “f*ck off” with a hand signal that backed up his words.
Warriors die-hards agreed with the uncle, saying that the pitch invaders not only ruin the game but also tarnish future chances Aotearoa has of hosting more NRL matches.
“I agree with Uncle, they slowed the game down massively,” wrote one person.
“Don't blame him,” said another. “We want more games in NZ.”
“We probably aren’t going to get a game outside of Auckland now,” a third added.
“Warriors had the Broncos on the ropes in the final ten minutes and had three sets of streakers slow the game down,” one more wrote.
It should be noted that Tohu Harris did not ultimately blame the pitch invaders for the loss, saying that the team could have played much better. But yea, maybe next time stay in the stands and let the players play.