New Zealand Warriors praised by Paul Gallen, government gives all-clear to return to Ausralia, Coronavirus
NRL great Paul Gallen has praised the members of the New Zealand Warriors for their incredible sacrifice, saying he would struggle to replicate their actions if he were playing.
The Warriors have been the team forced to sacrifice the most with the NRL’s interrupted season, initially basing themselves in Australia for the first two rounds of the season before the league was shut down due to COVID-19.
Now, with the league aiming for a May 28 restart, the Warriors have received a major boost with the New Zealand government granting the side exemption to travel to Australia to resume the season.
Gallen took note of the sacrifice required by the players to stay away from their families for an extended period.
“They came here for two weeks a few weeks ago just to keep the competition going,” he told the NRL Sunday Footy Show.
“Now they’re talking about coming over here in two or three weeks’ time to stay for possibly three or four months. We don’t know how long they’ll have to stay in isolation.
“As we know this is continually changing every day, but they may be in isolation for up to three months away from their families.
“So for them to even be considering it, I just take my hat off to them. I couldn’t imagine being away from my family for three months in isolation.”
With the New Zealand government allowing them to travel out of the country, the Warriors are now seeking an exemption from the Australian government’s strict hotel quarantine laws.
The Warriors are willing to isolate for two weeks, but are seeking to be allowed to isolate as a group so that the players can train together prior to the competition’s restart date.
The NZ team has targeted a recreational facility called Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head on NSW’s far north coast with the venue to be proposed to the Australian government as a potential base.
If the Queensland government relaxes its border restrictions, the destination would make it a lot easier for the team to travel if NRL games can be staged in the Sunshine State.
If the Queensland premier doesn’t ease the restrictions, the Warriors may have to relocate to Sydney.