NRL Rd 25 - Warriors v Raiders
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 31: The Warriors gather around for a huddle during the round 25 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium on August 31, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Conflict is arising as the Warriors prepare for another season away from home, even with officials saying otherwise, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys is optimistic of the fact that Australia and New Zealand will be able to create a travel bubble before the 2021 season commences, but Warriors chief executive Cameron George isn't confident on the proposal.

The Warriors resided in Terrigal for half of last year due to the travel bubble placed on the players at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Warriors, this year, are scheduled to play in Terrigal, NSW, for the first four rounds before returning to New Zealand in Round 5, yet the Warriors are not liking the chances of their return.

“We left New Zealand on the 3rd of May last year and we were told the borders were going to be open by the end of May. So don’t sit here in February, a year later, still thinking, ‘Oh they’ll be right, the borders are going to be open’,” George told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

“We’ve set ourselves up to prepare that it’s not happening. Anything before that is a bonus... We haven’t played there [Mt Smart Stadium] since August 2019. That’s 19, not 2020.

“We are praying for it. We want to go home but the reality it is we are not letting it worry us because we can’t afford to sit here and listen to the news every day of the week. The problem is you don’t unpack your bags."

V’landys is expecting a travel bubble between the two countries to come into effect in a matter of a few days after borders were re-shut for 72 hours following a positive case in New Zealand over a week ago.

However, the main concern is the mandatory quarantine required to return back to New Zealand, something that will hinder the Warriors return.

“ I am confident that will happen,” V’landys said. “Once New Zealand extinguish this one [case], which they’ve done so well in the past, there will be a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.”

“There’s already [a bubble] coming from New Zealand, it’s going back to New Zealand that’s the issue,” V’landys said.

“All we’ve got to have is for New Zealand to reciprocate it, which I am sure they will.”

V’landys has also told the Sydney Morning Herald last week that he will be pressing for NRL players to become a priority in the vaccination process, advocating for player to get the jab after health care workers and the elderly.

This will put them in the third roll out of the vaccine with half a million other critical and high-risk workers to ensure their safety as well as the fans.