NRL 2020: NZ Warriors' Warriors Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert to return home, team to remain in Australia

Warriors backline duo Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert will return to New Zealand for family reasons while the rest of the team relocate from Sydney to the Gold Coast. 

Minutes before the Warriors' season opener against the Knights in Newcastle, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all international arrivals after midnight Sunday must self-quarantine for a fortnight.

That ruling means no team can come to New Zealand to face the Warriors. 

After the Warriors' 20-0 defeat, chief executive Cameron Gerorge said he emailed players' wives and partners during the game to keep them informed of ongoing developments and "to alert them of the fact there's a real possibility there's going to be some big decisions made".

Since then it's been announed the Warriors will base themselves in Australia for the foreseeable future. 

But Hiku and Herbert will return home today in order to support their partners. Hiku's wife Lisa is heavily pregnant, while Herbert's partner just had a baby.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney and chief executive Cameron George.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney and chief executive Cameron George. Photo credit: Photosport

"I sent an email out to all of the players' wives and partners during the game to alert them to the possibility that there are going to be some big decisions made, particularly given the announcement from our Prime Minister just before they kicked off," George said on Saturday. 

"It's a challenge, but we'll bounce through it. After the day we've had today, this is something else how the group has got to deal with.

"I'm focused on making sure we get the best outcomes for our families and the boys.

"There are a couple of boys who have got very young children, who were just born in recent weeks."

George said he hadn't heard back from any of the partners, but Adam Blair's wife Jess made her feelings clear with a Twitter post. 

"I would cry!!" she posted.

"I have two kids, no family, studying my post-grad uni and work. I have exams, intensives and classes that are completely worked around Adam's schedule."

George reiterated that the situation isn't ideal for the club. 

"It's bigger than the game," he added. "But we do have a responsibility and obligation to work with the NRL and the game to play our part and keep things on track as best we can.

"It's onwards and upwards to round two, wherever that may be and wherever we'll be between now and then."

The Warriors were due to host the Canberra Raiders at Eden Park next weekend as part of a historic double-header, with the Blues' Super Rugby side to face the Brumbies afterwards. 

Due to the travel restrictions, SANZAAR - which runs the competition - has suspended Super Rugby indefinitely. 

The NRL has already floated the possibility of playing all matches in one city over 'magic' weekends to try to keep players healthy.

Already, North Queensland Cowboys captain Michael Morgan has called for the NRL season to be postponed.

But South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett feels the NRL should implement a series of 'magic rounds' in warmer climates in a bid to save the league from a financial disaster.

"The ideal for those contingencies is to quarantine us all," Bennett said.

"Send us away as 16 teams and do the best we can to make sure no one tests positive.

"Test us before we leave, go somewhere north where the climate is hotter. Because the odds are someone is going to get it [in their current set up] .

"We have to maybe be brave enough to do something other codes haven't done, but not at the risk of people's health."