Sport Rugby League NZ Warriors cleared for NRL return

NZ Warriors cleared for NRL return

NZ Warriors chief executive Cameron George, right, had previously confirmed that the team is still committed to the NRL season. Photo: AAP
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The New Zealand Warriors have been granted approval to fly to Australia on Sunday, where they will be able to train in Tamworth despite being in 14-day isolation.

The approval represents another big hurdle being cleared in achieving the NRL’s ambition of a May 28 return.

Thanking state and federal governments, NRL chairman Peter V’landys said the Warriors would join every club in a mandatory education day on Monday to ensure players toed the line during the coronavirus pandemic.

The approval comes after Friday’s crucial move from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, confirming borders would be open for the state’s three NRL teams to play in NSW.

It means North Queensland, Brisbane and the Gold Coast will not need to enter isolation camps in Sydney and can remain at home with their families.

The Warriors will be able to train while in lockdown in the northern NSW town.

Families of Warriors players will remain in New Zealand for now, although the league is hopeful border restrictions will eventually ease.

“As a game, we cannot thank the Warriors enough for everything they are doing,” V’landys said.

“Right from the start of this pandemic, the club and its players have put the competition first and for that, we will be forever thankful.”

The NRL’s efforts to restart suffered a setback when four players were given fines for not adhering to self-isolation measures in two separate incidents last week.

V’landys hopes Monday’s biosecurity protocol sessions will drill in what’s at stake.

“This is an excellent outcome for rugby league and another step towards the competition resuming on May 28,” V’landys said of the Warriors’ impending arrival.

“I want to thank the federal and state governments, in particular Border Force and NSW State Emergency Operation Centre, for their assistance in making the Warriors arrival a reality.

“The club will follow the strictest biosecurity protocols and, like all clubs, will participate in an education day about the protocols on Monday morning.”

-with AAP