Two Warriors players have been banned from entering New Zealand at the conclusion of their NRL season because of Covid-19 border restrictions. But why is there one rule for personnel involved in big money-making operations and another for returning athletes?
The Warriors have been jumping through hoops all year just to keep their 2020 NRL campaign alive.
From working with the NRL and Australian Government to get back into Australia for the competition's resumption to basing themselves across the Tasman to continue their season, nothing has come easy for the club this year.
Now, just when it looked like the worst was behind them, the New Zealand Government have thrown them a curveball.
When the rest of the team return to New Zealand after the season, two of their younger players have been told they won't be allowed back into the country despite having lived here for years.
Eliesa Katoa and Selestino Ravutaumada, who came to New Zealand from Tonga and Fiji respectively, have been in the country on work visas.
As a result, the Warriors have been informed by the Government the pair cannot return with the rest of the team when the season ends in late September. According to New Zealand Immigration, New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and residents with valid travel conditions can enter the country without approval. Others must apply to be granted entry.
Neither player has family in Australia, and club chief executive Cameron George has said he will host them in his family home across the ditch.
The issue comes from coronavirus border restrictions, which block non-New Zealand citizens from entering the country.
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Unless, it seems, you are a part of a major operation which could bring money into the country. Then you're fine to enter.
Two Warriors players who have been in the country for at least the past three years are at this stage not being let back into the country, but the Government was fine to allow more than 50 crew members to come in to begin work on the next Avatar film.
There are also discussions between New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Government around bringing the Rugby Championship to New Zealand , which would see teams from Australia, Argentina and South Africa coming in to play. In this case, it's understood Sanzaar would foot the bill for quarantine of the Australian, South African and Argentinian teams.
The America's Cup has also been catered to, with the New York Yacht Club's American Magic challenge already in New Zealand and out on the water , while the crews from INEOS Team UK in Great Britain and Italy's Luna Rossa will soon join them.
Yet two 20-year-olds, who are a part of one of the most iconic sports organisations in New Zealand, attended high school and have been in the country for at least the past three years, will be turned away. Ravutaumada has even represented New Zealand as part of the Junior Kiwis.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was questioned about the situation this morning and asked why some non-citizens such as America's Cup participants are allowed into New Zealand but others such as Katoa and Ravutaumada aren't.
"From what I've been briefed on that's a matter that's still looking to be resolved. But I think it just demonstrates the complexity of those issues at our border," Ardern said.
"Of course citizens, permanent residents obviously able to come straight through. Those who might be on visas but there are economic reasons for them being here, that takes a bit more of a process.
"I understand that's still a case that's been worked through.
"We are very clear that if you are outside that category of being a citizen or permanent resident there are expectations that you meet certain criteria so that we can see that the need for you to come here is linked into the wider wellbeing of New Zealand as well."
Economic reasons. The wider wellbeing of New Zealand. Make of it what you will, but it seems like a very political way of saying money talks. In a time where the economy has taken a bit of a beating, you can't really blame the country's leader for taking that approach. But what difference is two athletes really going to make?
Health-wise, there shouldn't be an issue. While New Zealand came out of lockdown in late April, the Warriors have never left it. As a precaution for the NRL season, players have been required to stay in confinement to avoid the spread of the virus and ensure player safety.
Like everyone else, they would observe 14 days of quarantine upon returning to the country and given their extremely limited contact with the outside world over the past three or four months, pose little to no threat of carrying the virus across the border.
Had this been made clear to the club from the beginning, there's every chance the pair would have elected to stay home. Their reasons for leaving the country weren't exactly in their control, so it seems amiss that they can't return.
George has appealed to the Government to review and reconsider their decision. Time will tell if it listens.