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Solomona delighted Warriors coping well away from home

When David Solomona visited the Warriors in Kingscliff to check on their welfare this week he said it "gave me a huge lift just to be around them".

The former Kiwi international is the NRL’s well-being and education programs manager for Queensland.

In order to keep the NRL competition going in the wake of the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, the Warriors will stay in Australia indefinitely away from their families back in New Zealand.

"So I came down and checked on the boys on Tuesday and on the way down I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. When I got here everyone was positive, and I mean really, really positive," Solomona told

"It actually gave me a huge lift just to be around them.

"The players, the senior leadership team and the coaching staff all want to do what is best for the NRL and the team but their priority is the well-being of themselves and their families as well.

Warriors prepping as well as they can

"Due to my role I have come down here to find out how the players are travelling and what they need, and to let them know there are counselling services available for them.

"I am really impressed with their attitude, and moving forward it is all going to come down to the boys' outlook."

Solomona was watching the Warriors train on Thursday at Cudgen Rugby League Club when he spoke to

The 42-year-old played his junior football with the Warriors and was in the 1998 top squad without getting a start in first grade.

He left to pursue what became a stellar career with the Roosters, Eels and in Super League but always retained a soft spot for the club.

RTS ready to move on

"I am an Auckland boy. I was born and raised there so it is my local team but now I am working with the NRL and there is a bit of a situation the players have got here," he said.

"The club does have a well-being person in Jerry Seuseu, the former prop at the Warriors, but he didn’t travel. Ben Henry and Jerome Ropati are also in that well-being area but they are stuck in New Zealand at the moment.

"Once they got word that the boys were going to stay in Australia they organised for me to come down."

Solomona said he had been impressed by the leadership of Adam Blair and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in an unprecedented situation. He also had lengthy discussions with head coach Stephen Kearney and his assistants Todd Payten, Stacey Jones and Tony Iro.

"They are all really positive about doing the right thing," Solomona said.

"As an ex-player I know that there is certain stuff that is part of your routine, like going home and being with your wife and kids.

Warriors v Raiders - Round 2

"Talking to the younger boys, they are in heaven. They are staying at a nice resort in Kingscliff with three meals available for them.

"The older boys, I understand they are missing their wives and their kids."

The Warriors have received tremendous support from the NRL, NRL clubs and the community in Kingscliff.

They are preparing for their round two clash against the Raiders without key outside backs Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku who had returned to New Zealand for family reasons.

Herbert returned to Australia with his young family and will now go into a mandatory self-isolation period.

Former Bulldog and  Panther Adam Keighran will play in the centres against Canberra.

Keighran is more of a half but he was named in the NSW Cup team of the year in 2018 as a centre and Warriors assistant coach Stacey Jones said the position was far from foreign to him. Adam Pompey, who played five NRL games last year, lines up on the wing.

Business as usual for the Warriors

"They have both played NRL before. Keigs has played more in the halves the last year but he has played a fair amount of junior footy and Cup as well in the centres," Jones said.

"[Pompey] had a few games in the NRL last year and played well for our reserve grade team last week and gets an opportunity, and that’s what our game is all about."

Two of the players in the 21-man squad named this weekend are on train and trial contracts in Adam Tuimavave-Gerard and King Vuniyayawa.

Vuniyayawa, a prop, made his NRL debut last week against the Knights and will line up in the number 17 jersey against the Raiders.

"That is the way it goes," Jones said.

"King had a really good pre-season, put the work in and now gets rewarded by playing NRL."


Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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