Sports

Warriors make devastating call on their home season



The Warriors have made the difficult decision to delay their long-awaited NRL homecoming due to the New Zealand government’s travel restrictions.

Warriors CEO Cameron George announced on Friday the club had no option but to move its much-anticipated round-15 match against premiers Penrith which was scheduled for Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium on June 18.

Having set up camp in Australia for the past two seasons because of COVID-19 border restrictions, it would’ve been the Kiwi club’s first NRL game on home soil in 1023 days.

George said the club was “completely devastated” by the cancellation but stressed that it wouldn’t be fair to ask rival teams to isolate for seven days on arriving in New Zealand.

The Warriors are desperate to go ahead with four other games scheduled in New Zealand from July onwards but George believes it won’t be feasible unless their opponents can skip isolation.

“While the (NZ) Government can speculate all it likes about these timings, it has, however, been proven over and over that there’s no place for guesswork in navigating this pandemic,” he said.

“We remain desperate to bring the team home to play at Mt Smart but it’s not possible to do so in June with the obstacles this Government has put in place. We’ve been forced into a corner.

“All we can do is work with the facts and the fact is it’s impossible to expect NRL teams to isolate for seven days after arriving in New Zealand.

“Penrith, for example, plays the previous Sunday so it can’t even do the seven days before our game.”

The Panthers clash is expected to be moved to Redcliffe in south east Queensland, where the Warriors are based this season.

It’s hoped that Wests Tigers, Melbourne, Canterbury and Gold Coast can still play their scheduled matches across the Tasman.

“Hopeful is all we can be. July is meant to be the next step towards reconnecting the world to New Zealand but no one can be certain that will work out,” George said.

© AAP



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