The Warriors have overcome a significant impediment in their quest towards being part of a revised NRL competition in 2020, but it still seems unlikely that they will be able to meet the necessary time frames for the suggested restart date of May 28.

Time remains against the Auckland club.

Despite the optimistic outlook of 'Project Apollo' — the taskforce put together to find a way for the competition to restart as soon as possible — there is no sense that the NRL will be able to mitigate the challenges involved quickly enough.

Head of Project Apollo Wayne Pearce reasserted his commitment to the May 28 launch in a meeting with all clubs on Wednesday night, but so many hurdles remain.

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The NRL have committed to returning on May 28 while training will resume on May 4. VIDEO / NRL

However, the Warriors have made one important breakthrough.

The Herald understands that the playing squad have agreed to make the trip to Australia, whenever that is given the green light, without their wives, partners and children.

The players have made a commitment that they will go first, with the expectation and hope that their families will be able to join them at some stage later.

This was a considerable step.

Previously it was a sticking point, as some players were reluctant to travel and relocate for months at a time, without concrete plans being made for their families.

But there has been a realisation that it was going to be extremely difficult — if not impossible — to get permission from the Australian border authorities to bring families across at the same time, given the extra complications.

Instead the club is now focused on getting the players, coaches and football staff into New South Wales when it is possible, before then looking at applications for families.

It's a vital move, but only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

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The Warriors have overcome a significant impediment. Photo / Photosport
The Warriors have overcome a significant impediment. Photo / Photosport

So far, there has been little progress made by the NRL on the biggest barrier; firstly, gaining approval from the Australian border force commissioner for the Warriors to enter the country and secondly allowing them to train during their 14-day isolation period in a self-contained facility.

The club has been told that their application, with all the necessary supporting documentation, has been lodged with the border force commission by the NRL, but there is no sense of when or if it will be approved.

Despite the popularity of the NRL, Australian politicians may be wary of a public backlash if special permission is granted to a sports team, when there have been stories of people being denied access to Australia on compassionate grounds to visit sick relatives.

But the Warriors will need to know soon, as they would have to depart by May 3 at the latest, to meet the NRL's suggested timeframe of a return to training on May 4.

The NRL is also yet to reach agreement with the broadcasters about the shape of a possible competition this year.

Until that happens, there will be no certainty about revenue streams and income for players.

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The NRL are set to meet with Channel Nine and Fox Sports this weekend, but there is no sense yet that those discussion will be simple or swift.

So the Warriors remain in a weird state of limbo.

They still need to prepare for a departure at the beginning of May, in case everything falls into place, so they are ready to resume training in a compressed pre-season then return to action.

It's understood they will be based at Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head, a facility in the far north of NSW for the isolation period.

They will have several options for a base once the season commences, with Kingscliff (where they stayed earlier this year) likely to be the favoured option.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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