Penrith Panthers fly into Christchurch, their 'home away from home'

The Penrith Panthers arrived into Christchurch International Airport late Tuesday night ahead of their NRL clash with the New Zealand Warriors at AMI Stadium on Saturday.

The Panthers have moved their home game against the Warriors to Christchurch for the next two years with an option for two more years.

The Penrith club hopes to create a 'home away from home' with a new fan base in the South Island, as well as strong relationships with Canterbury Rugby League and its talent pool.

"We're excited to be in Christchurch and look forward to building long-term relationships with the city and its people," coach Anthony Griffin said on arrival in New Zealand.

"Arriving four days before the game gives us the opportunity to get out in the community, engage with the locals, spread some positive messages and hopefully create some new Panthers fans," said Mr Griffin. His players will train at Christchurch Boys' High School on Wednesday morning and host a coaching clinic in Hornby with junior players from around the city later that afternoon. 

Mr Griffin said his players could not wait to run into the sold-out arena in Christchurch.

"We know there is a real love of rugby league in this part of the world, so we look forward to playing in front of a passionate crowd at AMI Stadium," said Mr Griffin.

Christchurch International Airport staff were proud to welcome their famous guests off the flight from Sydney and Chief Commercial Officer - Aeronautical Justin Watson anticipated
many Panthers fans would be following on following days' flights.

"We are the gateway to the South Island for hundreds of thousands of Australians and are pleased the NRL match will show off Our Place in The World to rugby league fans around
Australia.

"The visitors will experience Christchurch as one of the most exciting cities in Australasia. With growing numbers of big events like this match, we are demonstrating the city is open for business and keen to offer the famous southern hospitality," said Mr Watson.

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