League: Big league in Dunedin after all

The Warriors train on Carisbrook yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.Big-time rugby league. In Dunedin.

This is an occasion to be cherished.

When the Warriors and the Broncos smash into their hit-ups and complete their sets of six at Forsyth Barr Stadium tonight, a sport that has not always been treated kindly in this city will be welcomed with open arms.

Top-class rugby league has been spotted this far south about as often as the moa.

The great rugby-league schism led to deeply entrenched views, by the rugby union types, about the suitability of the 13-man code.

Otago rugby owned Carisbrook, so it was easily able to block league. In 1924, the Kiwis played Great Britain in Dunedin, and the game had to be played at Tahuna Park.

Years later, Carisbrook announcer Ray Cody was apparently given the flick, when it emerged he had accepted a post on the Otago Rugby League.

Time heals all wounds. The sight of the Warriors training yesterday on Carisbrook, the heart and soul of Otago rugby for over a century, proved that.

The old ground might be about finished but it was able to lay out the welcome mat for the ''northern code'' at last.

Logan Park will also be buzzing with league fever today, with the Community Roots Carnival starting at 12.30pm.

Forsyth Barr Stadium then hosts its first rugby league game when the Warriors play the Broncos at 7.30pm.