After a two year wait, the Warriors may finally be able to play on home soil in 2021 pending the release of the NRL draw later this week, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
All Warriors home games are set to be scheduled at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium and clusters of games could be played in New Zealand at the beginning and end of the season.
But the question remains if the border situation prohibiting travel between Australia and New Zealand will resolve itself before the 2021 campaign commences.
The NRL are releasing a fixture later this week that and is planning to give the Warriors games at their home ground.
With time zones taken into account, broadcast transfer from New Zealand to Australia will be easier than if the roles were reversed, due to a two-hour time difference between Australia’s east-coast and New Zealand.
As an example, if games were to be played in Australia in the evening, the Warriors main target audience in New Zealand would have access to the game at an unfavourable time due to being ahead by two hours, leading to less viewing from their home country.
“If they constructed it on the basis that we’re in Australia, the time slots wouldn’t work out if we could come back and play in New Zealand,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to live with what we get.
“Everyone is hopeful of having a few games [at home in New Zealand] early and a few games late.
“Maybe we can have a few home games to start with, alternatively if we aren’t here it would be great to have a few home games at the back end of the season because we’re more of a chance of being back in New Zealand then.”
New kids on the block 🏉✨
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) November 23, 2020
Warriors coach Nathan Brown is still yet to know when the his full playing squad will be together again, with the next two weeks being crucial for a successful season after only placing tenth on the ladder this year.
Brown has recently commenced pre-season training in New Zealand after being quarantined for two weeks upon return.
A small bunch of Australian-based Warrior players have started their summer conditioning training on the NSW south coast and aren’t likely to rejoin the rest of the team until January 2021.
The decision of where the Warriors will start their pre-season as a full playing team is yet to be decided due to the border situation.
However, the decision will be made in the lead-up to the Christmas period as restrictions continue to ease in Australia.
Redcliffe Dolphins have formed a partnership with the Warriors, allowing the team valuable game time if they were to be located in Australia for next season.
The Warriors played out of Gosford in the central coast this season and would likely use Redcliffe as a base next season if the adverse decision was made.
“It’s one thing to have borders open, but the most important thing is to have confidence they’re going to stay open because if they don’t, that is when you get stuck,” George said.
“The next couple of weeks are important to us.”
Terms agreed with South Sydney back rower Bayley Sironen 📝🔒
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) November 20, 2020
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) November 24, 2020