In incredibly tough times the Warriors are getting by with more than a little help from their friends, and this week in Kingscliff those friends have been coming out of the woodwork like an army of willing helpers.
The squad, now preparing to play Canberra on Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium, is staying in Kingscliff in Northern NSW indefinitely as the NRL rides out the unfolding coronavirus pandemic and while New Zealand has a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering the country.
The Warriors had an opposed field session on Thursday but as they only have 24 players in camp they were loaned three players from the Intrust Super Cup – two from Redcliffe and one from Tweed Heads – to provide them with a full complement to play 13-on-13.
The Warriors players had limited clothing with them after expecting to fly home on the weekend but the Canterbury clothing company of New Zealand has sent the squad shirts from one of their stores in Queensland.
The Currumbin Eagles and Cudgen Hornets provided the team with jerseys to wear at training, with Cudgen also making available their training ground.
Kingscliff gym Xcell Health and Fitness has opened its doors to the Warriors with free training sessions while the Gold Coast Titans loaned the side a drone for Tuesday’s session and also provided them with dozens of footballs for training.
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The players have special shirts back in New Zealand for fitting their individual GPS recorders into. On Tuesday the players taped the GPS devices to their arms. NRL senior manager of elite and pathways performance Troy Thomson found out and drove to Kingscliff to deliver a set of GPS bibs to save the day.
A company called Rollabot has also sent, free of charge, a suite of foam rollers for the players to massage their legs with. The list of helpers, including a variety of NRL clubs, is long and growing by the hour.
The NRL has also been assisting the Warriors in a variety of ways including paying for their stay at Peppers Salt Resort and Spa, where general manager David Robertson has taken care of their every need.
"There are people who want to get behind the team and help out wherever they can," an appreciative Warriors assistant coach Stacey Jones said after training.
"Kingscliff is a beautiful part of the world. We have been at a camp here before and the people at our hotel and the staff have helped us out every way they can
"Obviously it is a bit of an unknown for us. The tough thing is [not knowing] when we get to go home but we are keeping everyone as upbeat as we can.
"This is our job and we’ve got to do it, not only for us but for our families and everyone that supports us back home.
“The players have been outstanding with the way they have gone about it, especially the ones with young families back home. They would love to be back home but they understand that the best way to support and give thanks to their families and supporters is to do their job the best they can, and that’s what they are here to do.”
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The Warriors have 24 players in camp at the moment but only 19 of those are from their top 30-man NRL squad.
Two players – Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert – have gone home for family reasons.
Hiku’s partner is set to have a baby in the next fortnight while Herbert’s partner had a child recently.
Gerard Beale, Agnatius Paasi, Jazz Tevaga and Josh Curran have landed in Australia but are not available until round four after going into two weeks of mandatory quarantine.
"We had some players who picked up some niggling injuries through the trials and we are going to get them back on board in the next week or so and that will boost our playing stocks," Jones said.
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"Generally our second-to-last session is opposed and to have [Intrust Super Cup] players that we could call on to come and give us some good opposition certainly helps."
The Warriors have been granted permission by the NRL to borrow players from other clubs. Recruitment chief Peter O’Sullivan, who is with the team, is scouting around to determine who is available.
With the Intrust Super Cup and Canterbury Cup suspended there is a suite of players in NRL squads not getting game time and it is hoped some of them will be available for the Warriors after this week. Jones said it was "terrific" the support was there from a variety of NRL clubs.
The next challenge is beating Canberra.
"The preparation has been the best it can be. We do have things in the back of our mind but we know it is not ideal for any team," Jones said.
"I understand Canberra are flying here on the day of the game. Playing in front of no crowd will be different but that’s the way it is."