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NRL: Warriors set to stay in Oz as season continues

New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George concedes the club may not play again in  New Zealand in 2020 as new coronavirus isolation measures are already limiting who Stephen Kearney can bring into his line-up for next Saturday’s game against Canberra.

The Warriors will be based at Kingscliff this week with their round-two fixture against the Raiders moving from Auckland to the Gold Coast due to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for people arriving into New Zealand.

The Australian government’s announcement of the same measures being introduced as of midnight on Sunday has the Warriors fearing they will be unable to fly prop Josh Curran across the Tasman to add reinforcements to Kearney’s squad.

Australia’s new self-isolation restrictions will also make it extremely difficult for the club and NRL to fly players’ partners and family into the country as planned.

Already outside backs Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku have returned to New Zealand to be with their families – Herbert became a father recently and Hiku’s partner is eight months pregnant.

Some players from the Warriors’ Canterbury Cup side are understood to have stayed in Sydney while the rest of their teammates flew home on Sunday.

George said the club’s focus was on “getting through the next six or seven days” before reassessing the club’s situation once more, with no guarantee of players staying on in Australia after the Raiders game.

“It’s a reality and it’s on the table that we get though this weekend, we’ve got to make a decision with the players.

“What do we do? Do we continue to live this week by week scenario?

“We gave the players the option. If you want to come home, you can. That could change during the course of the week, players might want to come home during the week.

“The reality is that they’ll stick it out for seven days and there’s a massive decision to make one way or another.”

Warriors prop Adam Blair’s wife Jess posted on Twitter on Saturday night reacting to the prospect of her husband remaining in Australia after the travel ban was announced and again on Sunday morning to say she wasn’t having “a heated swipe” at anyone, that she just wanted everyone to be safe.

“It’s a reality and it’s on the table that we get though this weekend, we’ve got to make a decision with the players.

“What do we do? Do we continue to live this week by week scenario?

“We gave the players the option. If you want to come home, you can. That could change during the course of the week, players might want to come home during the week.

“The reality is that they’ll stick it out for seven days and there’s a massive decision to make one way or another.”

Warriors prop Adam Blair’s wife Jess posted on Twitter on Saturday night reacting to the prospect of her husband remaining in Australia after the travel ban was announced and again on Sunday morning to say she wasn’t having “a heated swipe” at anyone, that she just wanted everyone to be safe.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney broke the news of the new travel restrictions to shocked players shortly after full-time of Saturday’s loss to Newcastle.

He praised NRL management for remaining open, accessible and supportive during a fast-moving series of events that were “changing dramatically all the time”.

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