By BOB ANTHONY
THERE was plenty of excitment in the Cudgen Hornets camp ahead of tonight's historic clash against the New Zealand Warriors development squad at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
Hornets coach Jamie Mathiou yesterday declared his players were more than ready for the challenge of taking on the Kiwi heavyweights.
"The boys are excited about playing against the Warriors and with a bloke called Richard Villasanti in their squad they'll be keen to see how they match up," Mathiou said.
"This is a unique opportunity for our players to match up against a quality opposition and it's also a chance for the Tweed league community to see an NRL club in action."
New Zealand Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary, who played alongside Mathiou at North Sydney, said the Warriors devlopment squad had easily accounted for Ipswich on Tuesday night but he was expecting a tougher reception from the Hornets.
"This will be a good opportunity to give the young guys a run and also see how some fringe players are going," Cleary said.
For rugby league fans, the NZ Warriors senior players will be at the ground tonight from 5 to 6pm to sign autographs.
Gates open at 4pm with the Hornets under 18s and Keebra Park High School playingn at 5pm. Entry is just $6 for adults and children under 16 are free. The second game will be between the Cudgen reserve grade and Murwillumbah followed by the main game.
During the half-time of the main game there will be a kicking competition for youngsters with the winner earning themselves a new pair of footy boots. Childen are reminded to bring their Daily News coupon and drop it in the barrel at the main gate.