The Vodafone Warriors have stitched up a deal which will see them carrying a visible reminder of their quarantine stay in Tamworth every game day when the 2020 NRL season resumes.
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George has confirmed the Tamworth postcode 2340 is being embroidered on the club's playing jersey as a way of thanking the community for its support in giving the NRL players and staff a home when they went into Covid-19 quarantine last Sunday.
The local Northern Daily Leader received a tip-off that the club's jerseys were being given the new look by a local embroiderer and splashed the story as a front page exclusive in today's edition of the paper.
Reporter Breanna Chillingworth filed this story:
It's been their home away from home and now Tamworth has been permanently stitched up with the Vodafone Warriors.
The Leader can reveal the NRL powerhouse team have adopted Tamworth, taking on the 2340 postcode on their jerseys.
It's a way to say 'thank you' to the city for hosting the team through quarantine, a move which ensured they could take the field again for the NRL season restart.
On Thursday afternoon, the postcode was stitched onto the Warriors' official jersey in Tamworth, keeping the links local.
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George said the NRL signed off on the newest jersey addition on Thursday morning, and within hours local publican Craig Power was dropping the jerseys off at Tamworth's Hip Pocket.
"Two weeks ago we were stuck without a home; a situation we were in around quarantine regulations and then this all happened, only made possible by Tamworth," said George.
While the 'Tamworth Warriors' has a nice ring to it, and the team is winning over a legion of fans in the city, the 48-strong contingent want the community to know they won't be forgotten when bags are packed up again.
"We feel like the whole town is with us, so that every time we go and play for the New Zealand Vodafone Warriors, Tamworth is with us," George said.
"So it's our way to say thank you. You know the 2020 season is a bit different with no crowds at the games, so we can't get out into the community but we can take Tamworth with us to the game.
"Tamworth stepped forward out of the line and put their hand out and said we'll help you, and that's been a huge part of the 2020 campaign."
For Tamworth husband and wife team Sandy and Sue McIntosh, the NRL order was a little different to the usual clientele.
"We do lots of commercial things, lots of fun things, lots of things that mean something to people but this is really something different, and we think it's great the Warriors are here in our town," McIntosh told the Leader.
"To select a local business to do this is pretty incredible.
"You know we're a family-owned business and we've gone through a tough time like everyone [with the drought and coronavirus] but this - wow, what a thrill.
"And, it'll be an even bigger thrill watching them on TV when they play, and you know we can say, 'hey, that's our embroidery right there'."
While the Warriors can't mingle with the community because of the Covid-19 restrictions and quarantine, they knew full well the new 'Tamworth Warriors' team had been taken in by their adopted town.
"Tamworth has embraced us, the community is embracing us, and we were able to find a home," George said.
"We were having people work 24/7 behind the scenes in really unique circumstances in terms of protocols, quarantine rules and regulations.
"It's a first that we've been permitted to train in a quarantine facility, and we don't underestimate the work, the efforts, the approvals and everything that has gone on behind the scenes.
"That has been led by Kevin Anderson and Wests chief Rod Laing, and given all of that, we feel like we owe Tamworth."
George said the players had been "extremely comfortable" and were loving their Scully Park abode. The only thing missing is the game and the crowds. And, could we see a showdown between the Tigers and the Warriors in 2021?
"I've got a few little ideas about 2021; I would never say never," George joked.