The New Zealand Warriors could yet play host to NRL games this season.
While the expectation is that the Warriors will be based in Australia for the entire NRL season, as the competition pushes for a resumption on May 28 after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there remains hope that rugby league could return to Mt Smart Stadium in 2020.
The Warriors leave for Tamworth today to begin their 14-day quarantine after being granted an exemption to travel to Australia to continue the NRL season, before moving to Central Coast where they will be based.
That could be for the remainder of the season, but Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys gave a glimmer of hope to Auckland-based fans, with the possibility of games being played in New Zealand at some point in a season which will extend all the way to the end of October.
"Listening to media reports, the first country that's going to be allowed entry into Australia is New Zealand, and vice-versa," V'landys told NRL.com.
"Basically if those two restrictions are removed there's nothing stopping the Warriors going backwards and forwards as normal.
"We'd hope that information is correct and that's a progression that happens because it would make for a much shorter stretch than the Warriors had first contemplated."
At the moment, the Warriors are preparing for a six-month stay, and making arrangements for the players and staff's families to eventually join them in Central Coast, but CEO Cameron George acknowledged a New Zealand return and a more traditional travel schedule is possible.
"If you asked two weeks ago I would say no," he told the Herald.
"But I am holding some hope. I am not sitting here saying it will happen, but I am taking some confidence in the way things are trending in both cases [Australia and New Zealand]."
For NRL games to be played in New Zealand, not only would borders have to be opened to Australia, but there would either have to be no quarantine, or an exemption for NRL teams to enter without one.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters was optimistic about travel between the two nations, who he noted had been "beating the crap out of" the coronavirus.
''It could happen at level 2 as long as you had a guarantee as to who was coming and their safety and security,'' Peters said, before noting the key change that would have to be made to bring back transtasman travel.
''The moment you put in a 14-day quarantine forget it - it's not going to work."