New Zealand Warriors owner Mark Robinson has outlined the series of massive obstacles the club is willing to manoeuvre around to keep the team competing in the NRL, despite the current global pandemic.

While the club had previously commited to remain in Australia round two of the competition, Robinson has now said that period outside of New Zealand is looking much longer and will involve a complicated array of player management policies.

"Going forward they are happy to play as long as the competition is running. The boys are pretty happy to stay. We will do everything we have to do to honour our agreement with the NRL," Robinson told the Sydney Morning Herald in his first interview since the Covid-19 crisis reached a new level in Australasia over the weekend.

"I think we just do it. It's like going on a six-week rugby league tour to England."


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The Warriors squad is currently based in a resort in Kingscliff on the north coast of New South Wales where they are preparing for round two minus backline duo Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert who returned home to New Zealand to be with family.

Down two key players and facing an extended period of time isolated from reserves, the club has been allowed to bend some NRL rules and has received support from a number of rival NRL clubs to help keep the team competitive.

"We kept about six or seven young NSW Cup boys here and (the NRL) said we can put them in our roster," Robinson said.

"We might have about 26 or 27 here, that should get us through for a little while. If anyone gets injured, we can send them straight back.

"The Broncos have given us access to their feeder clubs and a few other clubs said the Warriors can use their players.

"There have been some Queensland clubs that have offered players if some players want to go (home). They will help us out, which I think is fair.

"It's not going to do much for our team, but at least we'll still be competitive and be in the competition."

Pita Hiku has already returned to New Zealand to be with his pregnant partner. Photo / Photosport
Pita Hiku has already returned to New Zealand to be with his pregnant partner. Photo / Photosport

However, with both New Zealand and Australia enforcing compulsory 14-day self-isolation periods for anyone entering the country, player logistics could quickly get complicated for the club.

"If we have to stay next week after this game and it carries on, we'll have to send five or six players from New Zealand, quarantine them for two weeks and (use them) once they come out of quarantine.

"We might have to do rotations with the quarantine weeks as part of it if the NRL is footing the bill for it.

"We might have to stick them in a separate part of the hotel for two weeks and then bang.

"If we can get these guys tested before they leave New Zealand or have a testing facility here straight away, we can prove they haven't got the virus and they can come straight out, they don't have to do their two weeks.

"That's how we could do it."

Despite all, Robinson is staying positive about the club and his ownership's future in 2020.

"I was having a yarn with them (the players) last night, telling them it could be worse. You could be in Italy stuck in an apartment.

"I've had a lot of obstacles that I have been through over the last 30 years, but we're pretty resilient," he said.

"That's a process with the Warriors, we need to bunker down and look at all the expenses of the club, which is a good thing.

"We have inherited a lot of stuff and are running with it."