The New Zealand Warriors are hoping for the best but planning for the worst – another year based in Australia.
Even though ARL Commission Chairman Peter V’landys says he’s confident Australian and New Zealand will soon agree on a two-way travel bubble, in which event the Warriors would be able to return home at some point in the season, Warriors chief executive Cameron George says he isn’t holding his breath, as the situation is long past the point of frustration.
The team left home early in May last year, at which time they were told the borders would likely reopen by the end of that month, said George, but what with that still not having turned reality, the Warriors have decided that instead of hoping on something unlikely to happen, they’ll rather bank on having to stay and viewing anything other than that as a bonus.
A recent local transmission of infection is threatening the NRL’s resolve to make at least some games played at home a priority for the team, who spent more than 150 days of the 2020 season based in Terrigal. The only certainty at this stage is that a planned Pacific bubble will in all likelihood face further delays.
The reality is that the team wants to return home, having not played at Mt Smart Stadium even once since August 2019, said George, but even though everyone has been praying for it, nobody can afford to sit around hoping for positive news all day and every day.
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