Warriors CEO Cameron George has confirmed that the club will not to return to New Zealand as hoped and will now remain in Australia for the rest of the season.
While a transtasman bubble has been in place for a month, George said it had become clear that heading home on June 21 as initially planned was no longer a realistic option.
“That was the goal but it’s clear there’s still too much uncertainty and risk involved with the Covid-19 situation,” he said.
“We saw a pause in the bubble just two weeks ago after a case in Sydney and that really served as another reminder of how unstable things are.
“While we’ve wanted to come home our priority has been to ensure we have stability for our players and families while also doing what’s best for the competition.
“We’ve been in constant discussions with the NRL keeping abreast of developments and we’ve mutually agreed it’s in our best interests to remain in Australia.
“However, we will continue to explore options to play in front of our fans at home if international border volatility settles later in the season.”
The Warriors had planned to return to Auckland to play their last five regular season home games at Mount Smart Stadium.
Earlier this week, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said the club was united in its view to remain in Australia.
“Overall we all made a smart decision that we probably think it is best for us to stay on here and then just finish off,” said Tuivasa-Sheck. “Because you have got to consider the families, and boys having to find homes when they get back – to pay for bonds, to find leases – that’s all the little things that we all had to think about.”
There is a desire to return home, but the logistics are complicated.
“We’re putting all that into consideration,” said Tuivasa-Sheck. “It doesn’t seem that easy just to pack up and go home because unfortunately some of the boys don’t have homes, they don’t have cars there, they don’t know how to get around.
“It’s a good set-up here, it’s a good system here, so we may as well just finish up the year here, if it goes ahead, if we get the green tick for that and get ready for a life back in New Zealand in the new year.
“We’ll just see what the best option that the NRL, the club, and us leaders come up with. We’re just going to back it and that’s going to be my role; to get the boys to buy in, knuckle down and keep working hard.”
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