Warriors to play with Issac Luke, cyclone-hit NZ on their minds

The Warriors have arrived in Christchurch with the heaviest of hearts but are determined to put smiles on faces at their pre-season hit out against the Melbourne Storm on Sunday.

It comes after news that former Warrior and Kiwi rugby league star Issac Luke lost his father in Cyclone Gabrielle.

Speaking to 1News at Christchurch Airport today, captain Tohu Harris said they're absolutely heartbroken and had sent the Luke family a personal message.

"Getting told about that last night was tough," Harris told 1News.

"I can't even fathom what him and his family are going through at the moment, so our love and condolences go out to them."

Harris, who grew up in Hastings, knows of dozens who have been misplaced.

"There's whole communities affected, whole suburbs; you've got family and friends where the whole place is flooded - it's hard not to know people affected by it," he said.

"Mum and dad are close to Clive where one of the bridges broke off and our marae two minutes from our house has been turned into a civil centre, homing people who have lost everything."

Tohu Harris looks on.

His siblings have been going to the marae everyday, supplying people with what they need at this tough time.

"The stories they're telling me are heartbreaking. The things people are going through, and families that are having to suffer.. we (his family) feel fortunate, but we're really feeling for others."

Harris added it's taken "a lot of focus" to be mentally prepared for this weekend's match - a sentiment coach Andrew Webster shared.

"Probably puts things in perspective that rugby league isn't as important, but we've got to look at it that hopefully we can go out and give people some entertainment and those who are doing it tough something to hopefully smile about," Webster said.

The Warriors' game against the Melbourne Storm gets underway at 2:50pm Sunday at Orangetheory Stadium.


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