The Warriors are set to fly to Australia just in time for the resumption of the NRL season – but one final hurdle remains for the players who have made a major sacrifice to play on amid the pandemic.
Warriors players made the difficult decision to fly across the Tasman – where they will be in quarantine for 14 days in Tamworth in regional New South Wales – without their families and partners for potentially the duration of the season.
It means the players, who were given special clearance from the Australian government to fly into the country, face the prospect of being without their loved ones for up to six months because of strict travel restrictions in place.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George said the club is working on helping the families to join the players in Australia, but insisted that the players are fully committed to the season ahead no matter what happens.
"The commitment to the playing group was that the players would get the exemption and then we will start working and facilitating the families' travel," George said.
"Different families have different circumstances to deal with whether that's employment or schooling. So we're just working through that as we speak.
"But hopefully over the next month, we'll have all that in place, bearing in mind that everything I'm hearing in Australia is very positive towards the way things are moving and who knows between the two countries there could be some sort of relaxation of the rules that could make it a lot easier for us all."
George said the club has provided mental health and wellbeing services for both the players and their families in what will be a difficult time apart, during an already stressful environment.
"First and foremost our club has an extensive programme in place around that aspect for both staff and players. So that'll continue as we move across to Australia.
"We'll have in-house wellbeing officers. The NRL has arranged for an Australian-based wellbeing officer to be in quarantine with our team and stay for the duration of our stay in Australia.
"Back here in New Zealand, we'll have extensive services provided to the families 24/7. That will be by our own club staff and also we're more than willing to provide external services if required.
"So I'm very comfortable that both players and families will be well catered for to ensure they have the right support and the right wellbeing services."
Despite the personal challenges for the players, George said the team is buzzing to get back onto the training pitch after weeks in lockdown.
"The boys have been in quarantine/lockdown for about four or five weeks so they'll love seeing a green oval that they can train together with their mates.
"Everyone will be a bit excited so they're all looking forward to going and it's really good for the team that they get this chance because at some stages, it's looked a bit shaky."