The New Zealand Warriors have now made the official call to start their 2021 NRL season in Australia.
Warriors CEO Cameron George announced the decision in an attempt to provide a level of certainty to the squad. The decision was made in response to Government’s declining of the club’s request to have their Australian-based players travel across the border into New Zealand to begin training in managed isolation, George said.
Pre-season training has already commenced in two separate camps – one camp in Auckland and another in Kiama, New South Wales. The hope was however that Australia-based Warriors would be permitted to travel to Auckland at the beginning of January – much in the same way as what the Wallabies had done ahead of the 2020 Bledisloe Cup Tests.
The benefit of training back home would have been two-fold for the club. Since players had spent the entire 2020 campaign across the Tasman, a concession from government would have allowed players based in Auckland to spend time at home before heading back to Australia for what could be months on end. The second benefit would have been that of allowing the seven new players added to the squad the opportunity to connect with their new NRL home.
The squad will initially be based in Tamworth, after which they will return to their basecamp in Terrigal, New South Wales. The first two rounds will be played against the Titans and Knights at Central Coast Stadium. The club will remain in Australia until at least the end of the fourth round.
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