What started as an idea to enable the Warriors to escape the confines of their Gosford apartments under the NRL’s biosecurity protocols has led to a relationship between players and local rescue dogs.
When the Warriors relocated to the Central Coast last month, NRL players were not allowed to leave their home or accommodation to simply go for a walk but exceptions were made if they were exercising a pet.
As many of the players had dogs at home in New Zealand that they missed, Warriors football operations manager Daniel Floyd contacted the Central Coast Animal Care Facility with a proposal for the two organisations to help each other.
"There was a clause that said you could go for a walk if you had a dog so we thought we would ring up the local pound and see if they would send us some dogs," Floyd said.
"The players would be allowed to go for a walk and their dogs could get out for a walk too."
The NRL has since relaxed the protocols but the likes of Kodi Nikorima, Jazz Tevaga, Josh Curran, Karl Lawton, Wayde Egan, Isaiah Papali’i, Agnatius Paasi, King Vuniyayawa and Leivaha Pulu were still keen to proceed with the arrangement.
"We had a great walk and some of the guys chose dogs that had some meaning to them," CCACF director Dee Walton said.
"One chose our English Staffy because he has an English Staffy at home, another chose Coco because Coco is a nickname of someone special to them, one chose our Rottweiler, Xena, because he has a Rottweiler and one chose our greyhound because he had greyhounds in the past."
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney, recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan and Floyd also took part.
"Everyone was comfortable with the dogs and the pound were over the moon," Floyd said.
"They are going to put it on their Instagram to try and create some publicity to help find some of the dogs a home."