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Warriors players will likely have to leave New Zealand in the next fortnight to ensure they can first quarantine and then train together leading into the NRL's restructured competition on May 28.

Negotiations around when Stephen Kearney's side can cross the Tasman are continuing with national and state governments, with a two-week quarantine period currently required for all travellers arriving in Australia.

In confirming May 28 as the NRL's proposed restart, ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce said no date had been set for when teams can begin training again. understands one return-to-training date proposed by clubs is May 4, while a month-long pre-season has previously been touted to ensure player fitness and safety before games begin.

With two weeks of quarantine required for any Warriors player or staff member before they could train together, an April 20th departure, 11 days from now, would have players out of quarantine three weeks prior to a May 28 kick-off.

NRL proposes date for return, structure still to be finalised

CEO Cameron George said talks would continue with NRL officials on Friday, but reiterated his club remained committed to playing again in 2020.

"If it's the 28th of May, I just want our guys to be a part of it for their own benefit, for our fans to enjoy it and we'll work through all those matters," George said.

"If we have to be there earlier, we'll try and get there.

"It will rest upon what exemption or assistance we can get to get through borders and then what flows on from that, what policies we have to adopt when we get into Australia.

"The NRL is so keen to have us a part of this competition, and to their credit they're doing everything possible to work with us and we'll ramp us those discussions."

George briefed players and staff on Thursday afternoon following a CEOs phone hook-up of all 16 clubs, in which a 15-round competition where each team plays each other once was tabled as an option alongside a two-conference system.

The NRL will finalise the structure of the draw once it has met with broadcast partners in the near future.

Kearney and his coaching staff and senior players Blake Green, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Adam Blair and Tohu Harris will continue discussions with the club's hierarchy on behalf of the playing squad after "going away and sleeping on it", according to George.

He is of the belief that NRL negotiations with the New Zealand government will allow for an exemption to the nation's current travel bans, while Pearce said the NSW government had indicated its support pending the NRL's biosecurity measures around players.

"I don't think the issue sits on this side of the Tasman, to be fair," George said.

"I think we're able to get out of the country, finding a flight might be our biggest challenge.

"It's more so where you go to and who lets you in and that's where I think major discussions are happening on the Australian side of the Tasman more so than us leaving the country."

Should current travel restrictions remain in place on both sides of the ditch, Warriors players would be unable to go home and continue playing, making for potentially months away from their New Zealand-based families.

Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson thanks the Warriors after their round-two clash on the Gold Coast.
Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson thanks the Warriors after their round-two clash on the Gold Coast. ©NRL Photos

The prospect of having to lock down for two weeks on arrival in Australia adds another hurdle to having families travel with players, but George said it was an option being explored.

"They're two very real options that will be on the table in any given competition that can resume," George said.

"We're in the hands of government border controls and policies that are in place.

"We are community leaders and we don't expect any sort of special treatment but I'll leave that to the NRL and we'll work through that.

"But it's certainly one of the questions we need to work through."

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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