NRL 2020: NZ Warriors keeping positive after 'confronting' drama - Adam Blair

NZ Warriors forward Adam Blair says players have adjusted to the reality that they'll likely spend the entire NRL season in Australia. 

The Warriors have set up base in Kingscliff, New South Wales, which will be their new home for the foreseeable future, due to the travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand that require overseas travellers to self-isolate for 14 days, due to coronavirus. 

On Saturday, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced the travel restrictions moments before the Warriors kicked off their season against the Knights in Newcastle.

As players left the field in disappointment after a lacklustre 20-0 defeat, they were informed that no teams could travel to NZ to face them, meaning the Warriors would have to stay in Australia to remain in the competition. 

The decision allows the NRL to continue as scheduled, but means the Warriors will be away from their families indefinitely. 

Blair told The Project that the news was "confronting", coming off a tough 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." 

Initial reports said some Warriors players were happy to remain in Australia and face the Canberra Raiders - initially scheduled to take place at Eden Park - but wanted to return home afterwards.

But now the mood has changed, and the team is settling into their new home. 

"We made the decision we're going to stay here and play our games for as long as it takes, so we can move forward as a group and get ready to play every week here," Blair added. 

"It took us a couple of days to get over it. We've moved on now and we're trying to focus on what we can control, and that is for a game against the Raiders on Saturday. 

"Everyone is in good spirits, a few of the boys are mucking around, being eggs, but it's all fun and games. It will bring us closer together." 

The Warriors currently have 24 fit players - 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. 

Warriors players after their defeat to the Knights.
Warriors players after their defeat to the Knights. Photo credit: Photosport

The quartet missed the match against Newcastle with injuries and will have to complete isolation before becoming eligible for play.

There's no guarantee Beale (knee) or Tevaga (ankle) will be fit to play by that time. 

The Warriors will also be without Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbet for an extended period, as both players returned home for personal reasons. 

Fellow centre Taane Milne is also out for the season, after rupturing knee ligaments playing for the Warriors' reserve-grade side, which have since withdrawn from the Canterbury Cup, with play suspended until at least May 31. 

The Warriors are currently considering loaning players from the second-tier Canterbury and Queensland Cups to help create more depth in their squad. 

The Warriors face the Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, while locations for the remaining rescheduled matches have yet to be confirmed. 

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