After spending four months in Australia to rescue the NRL season, the New Zealand Warriors are well prepared to do it again in 2021.
The Warriors CEO Cameron George has put together a plan of how the players and staff can cope if they are forced to spend another season like this year.
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This would all depend on the border restrictions between Australia and New Zealand as the Warriors would be keen to host home games in their own country, but if they are not open by mid-November then the Warriors have a plan.
According to Stuff.co.nz, the Warriors could begin their pre-season in Australia and New Zealand as the club would split into two groups, an Australian group (for Australian players) and a New Zealand group (for New Zealand players).
But the two groups could become one main group if by January 4 the borders are still not open for business, then the New Zealand group would reunite with the Australian group in Australia.
The Warriors would be based in Tamworth (like this year), but they would also welcome the thought of returning to New Zealand to play home games if they are permitted to travel there.
The Warriors’ plan is to provide the Australian Rugby League Commission a three-week period from January 4 to May 1, May 2 to August 1, and August 2 to the end of the season- but this will depend on if they can fly in and out of Australia to New Zealand and vice versa.
“For me, that’s the fairest way we could apply flexibility but also give people certainty,” George said.
“If we go on January 4, everyone will know we’re there until May 1.
“We’ll be playing our home games in that block, in Australia.
“This year, we’ve all had one eye on the newspaper and TV, waiting for information on alert levels and announcements.
“No one was settled, people thought they might be coming home, then found out they weren’t.
“If the borders do open up on March 10, the families can come over. So there’s still that upside for the players and staff.
“It’s not like it’s bad that we’re still staying to May 1, because their families can come straight away and join their partners.
“But it’s more of a commercial approach, where we’ve got a block where we can be stable, have a plan and execute it.”