New Zealand Warriors boss Cameron George is set to meet with the NRL to decide a location for two separated groups of Warriors players to train as Nathan Brown plans to introduce his seven recruits to their new teammates ahead of 2021.
Brown recently completed his fortnight of isolation and quarantine in Auckland and is training the Warriors' New Zealand-based players locally while assistants Justin Morgan and Craig Hodges take charge of the other half of players currently situated in Kiama, New South Wales.
George is set to meet with league officials on Monday before calling all Warriors players and collectively via Zoom to plan the club's pre-season.
The Warriors look likely to return to Tamworth ahead of trials against Melbourne and Gold Coast, with George stating the club would prefer to be at the comfort of their own home playing in Auckland.
"It is all subject to the borders, naturally, and at this point in time they are shut so our plan in the event that there is no change is to go to Australia and join up with our Australian-based group," George told NRL.com.
"The Australian-based players are in Kiama but due to the size of our group and the time of the year there is no chance of getting on the coast anywhere so we would be looking at Tamworth as a possible location if that is what we are going to do."
Recruits Addin Fonua-Blake, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Kane Evans, Euan Aitken, Marcelo Montoya, Bayley Sironen and Sean O’Sullivan are all currently located in Australia.
Family members of both players and staff will be able to relocate with the club if the Warriors are forced to stay in Australia for the 2021 season.
George revealed any decision made by the club would require the following:
- Certainty about where the team would be based for a defined period of time;
- Players being able to have their families join them, and;
- Sticking with the decision so the team can prepare and play to their best ability.
"We have got a huge amount of new faces, a full new coaching unit and if I have learned something from this year it is to just control what you can control," George said.
"I think the club has a better understanding of what is important and what we can control whereas I think last season we were on the hop a lot of the time.
"I think the whole world was panicking, not just us, but this season I feel very much more in control of what we can do and as such that has given the players confidence that we are getting good plans in place for what lies ahead subject to the borders."
George revealed there to be a strong sense of belief in the Warriors camp following a colossally disrupted 2020 campaign.
"There is a lot of excitement and a lot of energy but there seems to be a real focus from the players who have been in our club for a while," George said.
"I sense that there a real belief in what the club is doing and what the playing group did last year. There seems to be a greater belief from what I have seen with the people that are here [in Auckland].
"The way that Nathan has messaged his expectations has been really loud and clear to the players and has said I can coach but I can only coach if you want to put in. I think that has got everyone up on their toes, training hard and ready to take on 2021 wherever we are."