The New Zealand Warriors have offered homesick trio David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo and Agnatius Paasi a unique pay deal.
They would pay around 70 per cent of their contracts when they return to New Zealand if they remain in Australia until the end of July, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Fusitu’a, Maumalo, and Paasi want to return home and reunite with their families.
The homesick trio were ready to depart from Australia straight after the Warriors heavy round seven loss to Melbourne Storm, but agreed to stay until after the clash with the Sharks on July 19 at the request of the club.
A rise in Victorian coronavirus cases has impacted on the hopes of officials gaining travel exemptions for loved ones or the creation of a trans-Tasman bubble between countries in time. It means pressure is now placed on the club and players to make a decision.
Warriors CEO Cameron George and owner Mark Robinson have come up with what they believe is a reasonable compromise after speaking with the three players.
It would see Fusitu’a, Maumalo and Paasi stay and play on until the clash with West Tigers on July 31 and then, once in New Zealand, received roughly 70 per cent of their agreed income.
The players have sought advice from the Rugby League Players Association on whether they should accept the offer as already player’s contracts have been effectively halved to help the league cope with the effects of coronavirus pandemic.
Their position could be conveyed back to the Warriors as soon as Thursday after talks with the union on Wednesday night.
Since arriving in Australia on May 3, the Warrior’s New Zealand contingent of players have not be able to see their families, while their Australian counterparts have since local restrictions were eased.
Warriors coach Todd Payten has revealed there are family circumstance pulling the trio back to New Zealand. Both Paasi and Maumalo are finding it difficult being away from their partners and children, while Fusitua is expecting his first child.
“Two have probably wavered a little and one of the guys is still pretty firm on getting home,” Payten told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s not as black and white as people think with homesickness. There are some other extenuating family circumstance which are pulling them back, which I totally understand.”
When asked if he was hopeful of gaining a family exemption in time, he replied: “We’ve got 12 days – we just need the government and the NRL to give us the answer we are looking for. I’m still hopeful but we haven’t had any progress in the last 12-13 weeks.
“I understand it’s a government agency, I understand there are hundreds of application. I’m still hopeful and I am still optimistic. [ARL Commission Chairman] Peter V’landys has done a really good job in getting the competition up and running.
“He has assured us he will give us his best efforts. If I go on what I’ve seen from him over the last four to six months, I’m reasonably optimistic it can get done.”