Against their best intentions, the Warriors are preparing to start another NRL season based in Australia.
It's a worst case scenario, far from their preferred option, as the club is desperate to return and play matches in Auckland.
But they can't ignore reality.
There are currently numerous hurdles in the way of kicking off the 2022 campaign at Mt Smart and those issues won't be going away in a hurry.
And time is not on their side.
Pre-season training is due to start in November, while the competition next year is slated to begin in late February or early March.
That leaves the Warriors in a precarious situation, having to commit to something as they can't afford to wait.
The club has already decided there will be no split pre-season, unlike last year where separate groups trained in Auckland and Kiama (southern NSW). Given the travel bubble is unlikely to re-open in the next few months, it's hard to see how the Warriors can complete pre-season in New Zealand.
That has obvious implications for their overall season planning, with players, staff and their families needing to arrange their lives.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George admits the 2022 situation is complicated.
"We can't be foolish and ignore the obvious fact; what is high risk and what is low risk," George told the Herald. "High risk is playing the international border game … low risk is not."
That is the crux of the issue. While there is optimism from the recent government announcement around entry for vaccinated people from certain 'safe' countries, that will take a long time to implement.
For the Warriors to be based in New Zealand, the equation hasn't changed; they need guaranteed quarantine-free transtasman travel, along with an assurance there won't be any sudden border closures on either side.
Unfortunately, that scenario is no closer. When the Warriors announced their plans to be based on the Central Coast in 2021 – in three blocks – there was always the tacit assumption they would at least be home in 2022, as the Covid-19 shadow started to fade.
That hasn't happened, with the NRL in a worse and more uncertain predicament, with the relocation of 16 clubs to Queensland.
It's even more complex for the Warriors, who have yet to find a way to return to Auckland before mid-December, due to MIQ congestion, as revealed by the Herald last week, which makes any planning problematic.
"Right now we don't have a choice," said George. "We can't go home. That's our starting position. We are trying to assess next year, when don't even know if we can get home this year."
George remains hopeful that a New Zealand based solution will present itself, which will be feasible if the Covid situation in Australia, particularly NSW, improves over the next few months.
But he is also wary of a repeat of their 2020 campaign, where players had to uproot their lives, away from families and partners for the season.
"My objective is to protect the club from being ripped apart, particularly players and families, players and staff," said George. "We also need to maintain the relationship as best we can with our fans, both in New Zealand and Australia, and our sponsors.
"But we also have to prepare and train the best we can as well and you can't do that when you are keeping an eye on borders every day."
George said the decision around 2022 will be made within the next four weeks.
"Everyone says just wait and see," said George. "But you can't wait and see. You have to make a plan and get on with it. If you can make small changes on the back of that – fantastic.
"We are very positive about finding the best outcome for our club, [though] not necessarily all of it is within our control at the moment. We are planning for the worst, hoping for the best."