Rugby league: New Zealand Warriors would likely remain in Australia despite transtasman bubble – CEO

The Warriors will almost certainly remain in Australia despite the likelihood of a transtasman travel bubble being introduced within a fortnight.

The New Zealand Government will make an announcement this afternoon. It is widely predicted that travellers will soon be able to fly between Australia and New Zealand without having to quarantine.

But Warriors CEO Cameron George said this was unlikely to be the “silver bullet” allowing an early return home for his NRL team.

The club will likely stick to its plan of a June 21 return to Auckland, although there must be some doubt over that as well given the Covid-19 uncertainties.

“We’re desperate to come home, and we want to engage with our fans and sponsors, back there,” George said from the Central Coast.

“But my understanding is the Government’s announcement will come with a strong ‘buyer beware’ proviso.

“I don’t think coming home now would be best for our club or the game.”

The Warriors’ families followed the team across the ditch this year and if there was another virus outbreak, returning to New Zealand could lead to the separation of the players and their loved ones.

There would also be risks for NRL teams coming to New Zealand for games – an outbreak could leave them stranded here or forced to undergo two weeks of quarantine back in Australia.

Similarly, the Warriors could also find themselves stranded in New Zealand, when they are due to play in Australia, if the travel rules suddenly needed changing.

Those scenarios would be a disaster for the competition.

“Once the announcement is made I think it is best to take a deep breath,” George said.

“But is this the silver bullet allowing us to come home? We don’t want to put ourselves in a big risk situation.

“It would involve going from a non-risk environment to what could be a very volatile situation.”

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