NZ Warriors players are united in their desire to remain in Australia for the rest of the NRL season, says captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
An announcement is expected regarding the team's plans for a potential homecoming, with the earliest possible date for a Mt Smart return being their July 2 match against St George Illawarra Dragons.
But Tuivasa-Sheck confirms the team has reached a joint decision to remain at Central Coast base for the remainder of their 2021 campaign, which they believe - logistically - makes the most sense.
"We made a smart decision that we think it’s probably best to stay on here and finish it off," says Tuivasa-Sheck.
"You've got to consider the families and boys having to find homes when they get back. To find rent, pay for bond, have to get leases - that's all the little things we had to think about.
"We've put all of that into consideration, and it doesn’t seem that easy just to pack up and go home, because, unfortunately, some of the boys don't have homes. They don't have cars there, they don't know how to get around.
"There's a good set-up here, a good system, so we might as well just finish the year off here and get a life back in New Zealand in the new year."
That decision certainly doesn't mean that the Warriors won't hop back across the Tasman for selected fixtures at their spiritual home through the back end of the season.
"If we make the call that we're going to stay here in Australia, I'd still love to come back home and get a few games in," Tuivasa-Sheck adds.
"I think they’d go off and it's only fair that we can do something back home. I know the club is all over the NRL that we'd love to go back home and do something for the fans back at the Warriors."
While the Warriors are clearly keen to get back on home soil and treat their faithful fanbase to a long-awaited game in the flesh, the recently announced All Blacks test against Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium on July 3 may make that Round 16 clash with the Dragons unfeasible.
Their next scheduled home fixture is against Penrith Panthers on July 18.
"My job is to rally the group and see what they feel," says Tuivasa-Sheck. "They've given us options, to see what’s the best one to take and I pass on that message to the group.
"Of course, all of the boys want to come home, they want to be back with our fans, but is it safe? Is it the best idea?
"That's what's being tossed in the air and I know that the process is still going ahead. We'll just see what the best option is with the NRL, the club and us leaders that we can come up with, and we're going to back that."
Head coach Nathan Brown - who's yet to move to New Zealand, since being appointed in the role during the off-season - endorsed his team's decision to stay the course across the Tasman, noting it's probably the "safest option".
"While going home would certainly have some great benefits - especially for our Auckland-based players who have families, grandparents and what-not there - to be able to play at home," Brown says.
"But then there's the obvious thing which happened a week or so ago, with the virus coming again and the borders getting shut.
"I would think, for stability, being here is probably the safest option for all involved."
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