NRL 2020: NZ Warriors committed to continue season in Australia, despite border restrictions

The NZ Warriors have committed to staying in Australia for the 2020 NRL season, chief executive Cameron Geroge has announced. 

On Friday, George said players and their families are happy to remain in Australia, despite the border controls restrictions imposed by the New Zealand and Australian government due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The border restrictions - brought in on Thursday - prevent all non-citizens or residents entering either New Zealand or Australia. 

There had been plans to fly families from New Zealand and serve a 14-day isolation period, but the rules prevent that from happening for some family members. 

George said the Warriors had met to confirm their desire to remain in Australia, but the group has decided to stay in the competition.

"The Entire squad is locked in and ready to go," said George. "They understand the issues that different individuals got on the table. 

Warriors boss Cameron George.
Warriors boss Cameron George. Photo credit: Getty

"But they're sticking together ... [The NRL] have called on us and we've stepped up to the task."

"If we were told to leave your family and live in another country for an indefinite period, not many would ... we're very proud of the players."

The Warriors will continue to base themselves in a camp in Kingscliff, New South Wales, and will play Saturday's 'home game' against the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.

Where they play the remainder of their home games is unknown.

"The deciding factor was that it's our time to be leaders in the community and rugby league ... we're gonna stand tall and be leaders and take it on," George added.

"These guys aren't falling away from the challenge ahead. Players had to borrow gear and adapt.

"Our players have been asked to relocate to another country - unplanned - and continue to play in the competition, away from their families. 

"If that is the case, then we need to make sure they have everything that their normal lives provide them, as much as is possible."

The Warriors currently have 24 fit players in Australia - four of whom sit outside the club's top 30 NRL list - but have flown Agnatius Paasi, Jazz Tevaga, Josh Curran and Gerard Beale over. 

The quartet missed the season opener against the Newcastle Knights with injuries and are currently in isolation, along with staff members. 

Patrick Herbert is also beleived to be in isolation and returned to Australia before the 9pm lockout.

Centre Peta Hiku remains in New Zealand as he awaits the birth of his child and it is unclear if he will meet requirements to travel to Australia.

Players were left in tears during a Saturday night meeting with NRL boss Todd Greenberg, where they agreed to remain in Australia to help the competition.

But Warriors forward Adam Blair told The Project that the news was "confronting", coming off a tough 20-0 loss. 

"We'd just played a game, we just had a tough loss in the first game of the season and we came straight into the sheds, and we started talking about not coming home. 

"After the game, it was quite confronting." 

On Wednesday, the Warriors announced their reserve-grade side have withdrawn from the Canterbury Cup, with play suspended until at least May 31. 

Join us for live updates as the Warriors face the Canberra Raiders from 5pm Saturday