New Zealand Warriors land in Australia after travel exemption
TAMWORTH, AUSTRALIA: The New Zealand warriors arrived in Australia late on Sunday after the National Rugby League secured an exemption for the team to enter the country before a planned resumption of the sport.
A charter plane carrying the Warriors landed in the rural town of Tamworth, about a five-hour drive from Sydney, around 5:30 p.m.
The only international side of the NRL will spend 14 days in quarantine in the city, Australia's country music hub, before the competition restarts on May 28.
On Saturday, Australian authorities granted 36 players and staff a rare exemption from the country's ban on international arrivals, amid a slowdown in new arrivals. coronavirus cases in Australia and New Zealand.
The Warriors were short two players after center David Fusitu'a and prostitute Nathaniel Roache stayed in Auckland.
The club said Fusitu'a had been given permission to delay his departure on compassionate grounds and that Roache had told him to do the same after reporting that he was not well.
We are fully satisfied that Nate has not had contact with any other players or staff members at the club for several weeks and we are very comfortable that we have complied with all policies and requirements, said Warriors CEO Cameron George.
The NRL season was suspended on March 24 after just two rounds amid a government shutdown of all non-essential gatherings in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck He said he was excited to be reunited with his teammates, but being separated from his family for an extended period would be a challenge.
It was definitely a difficult part, saying goodbye to the family in the parking lot and watching my two children leave, he said before boarding the flight.
At this stage, I have prepared to go for five months and go to work. If they could come during a certain (period), then I would be happy to bring them because it would be difficult not to see them that long.
According to plans by the league and its broadcast partners this week, the season will be cut from 25 rounds to 20, including the two already played, with a four-week playoff series ending in a Grand Final on October 25.
The three-game State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland, which is normally played mid-season, will move to November for the first time.
The NRL has pushed hard to restart the league as Australia achieved success in curbing the spread of coronavirus, with the number of new daily cases slowing significantly in recent weeks allowing some restrictions to be lifted.
Australia has recorded 6,800 cases of COVID-19 and 95 deaths from the virus, while New Zealand has confirmed just over 1,100 cases and 20 deaths.