NRL: More than half of NZ Warriors players contracted COVID-19 ahead of pre-season training

NZ Warriors haven't been immune from the wave of COVID-19 sweeping through Australia, with more than half of the team having been infected during their Christmas break.

Based in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe for the coming season, the Warriors have been affected by Queensland's growing outbreak.

As of Thursday, Queensland had recorded more than 14,000 infections and six deaths over a 24-hour period.

The Warriors haven't been exempt either, coach Nathan Brown says, revealing that his side - and most of the NRL - have recorded multiple positive cases of their own as they return to pre-season training.

But with most of their positive cases now recovered, Brown is also hopeful that the club can move forward with their plans as they build towards the 2022 NRL season, starting in March.

"The first little week and a half back has been a bit of a mixed bag," Brown says.

"Like all clubs we've had, I'd be surprised if most aren't near that sort of two-thirds of their squad that have either had COVID, [are] coming out of COVID and recommence training, or in isolation with COVID.

"We're hopeful that next week, when most of our squad have had COVID and recovered, that we can pick up where we left off in the back part of December."

"We're quite fortunate in a way we've had a huge chunk of blokes that have already had it and come out of it already.

"It's a bit of a mixed bag this week, but we're quite hopeful that by Saturday we can start getting some really strong sessions in again."

Utility Kodi Nikorima adds that despite the virus being widespread around them, the Warriors are taking every possible precaution to ensure as little disruption as possible for the remainder of their pre-season.

"In the mornings, we all have to come in [and] do a RAT [rapid antigen test]," Nikorima explains. 

"So you take a test, sit in your car for about 15 minutes, and if it's negative, you're allowed to leave your car. Obviously you've got to wear [a mask] everywhere too, in and around the facility.

"We're doing everything we can to keep everyone safe."

And while other clubs have had issues convincing players to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Warriors have had no such issues, Brown adds.

Melbourne Storm and Kiwis prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona is facing an uncertain future with his club, while North Queensland Cowboys captain Jason Taumalolo has reportedly been served a warning notice for his refusal to be vaccinated.

"As far as we're aware, everyone in our full squad that's here at the moment is either fully vaxxed or [has] one more shot to go," Brown says.

"We haven't got any players that we need to worry about at the moment in that area. If that changes down the track with new additions or younger players, I'm not too sure, we can deal with that as it comes.

"But we're in a good spot there as it stands at the moment."

Fellow Australian-based Kiwi sides Wellington Phoenix and NZ Breakers have also been impacted by COVID, with both A-League and ANBL seasons disrupted by the virus.