The Warriors want to be part of a future NRL competition in 2020 — when and if it restarts again this year — but say it is too early to consider if that will be a feasible option.

The club also say they will seek economic support from the government, to counter the massive financial implications of the game being shut down, while CEO Cameron George confirmed that several Australian players and staff would stay on in Australia. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

The suspension of the competition, which was announced on Monday evening, had seemed inevitable for some time, though the NRL had attempted to forge ahead for as long as possible.


Once the short term shock subsides, the question of the shape of the competition later this year will become the primary focus.

The competition became one of the last professional contact sports to shut down in response to the outbreak, suspending its 16-team competition last night.

Assuming the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic subsides in Australasia in the next few months, the Australian Rugby League Commission have made it clear they will re-start the season, even if it is compressed into a few months.

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But will that include the Warriors, especially if some form of travel restrictions are maintained and they have to be based across the Tasman again?

"We have every intention of being part of the NRL and the rugby league landscape, absolutely," said George on Tuesday. "What that looks like and where that can go, at the moment it's pretty raw for us."

George, who joined all other club CEO's in a crisis meeting with the NRL on Tuesday afternoon, said contemplating the future was low on the list of immediate priorities.

"I'm not even thinking about asking the players 'do you want to participate in the competition in the next month or two or whatever it be?'," said George.

"It's pretty raw at present and we just want to get them home and settled and keep everyone healthy."


The Warriors' players and staff were due to return home on Tuesday afternoon, though hooker Wayde Egan, middle forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Canterbury Cup coach Justin Morgan were staying across the Tasman.

"[They] wanted to stay and be closer to their family, and understandably so," said George. "Monday was an emotional rollercoaster for the playing squad, especially as news filtered through of the impending lock down in New Zealand.

"Their mood changed dramatically after the Prime Minister's announcement," admitted George. "However that was short lived once the competition was suspended [on Monday evening]. That enabled the players to feel relieved, and feel like they had some direction finally."

George admitted the implications of the NRL postponement would be massive saying that the "impact it will have on our club will be felt for a long time."

George said the Mt Smart franchise would need to "manage ourselves sensibly" but refused to discuss the possible consequences for staff, saying he wanted to maintain a positive outlook.

It seems inevitable that player wages will be affected, with an impending cut to the salary cap, but George pointed out that any reductions will be across the league, rather than isolated to the Auckland club, though conceded that overall it would put a "massive dent in the game".

George confirmed that the club would be applying to the government for assistance.

"This club certainly adds significant value to the economy through various streams and we take that very seriously," said George. "We add a great deal of value and it's certainly something we will explore, like every other business will be."

As one of more bizarre chapters in the Warriors' history comes to a close, George said there were no misgivings over their decision, in choosing to remain in Australia after the trans-tasman travel restrictions kicked in.

"I don't have regrets," said George. "If I look back on how we handled it, it was important that we allowed the players ample time to discuss the options with their families. My job was purely updating them, when I knew something, they knew it."

"When they decided to stay on [last Friday], I felt it was really courageous and sensible from their part [at that time].

"We have no regrets. Full credit to them. And there are bigger issues in the world to worry about right now."