13 Jul 2020

Another big week ahead for Warriors

12:14 pm on 13 July 2020

The Warriors face the latest hurdle in their extraordinary National Rugby League season this week with the deadline approaching for their families to join them across the Tasman.

Warriors coach Todd Payten.

Todd Payten Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Two weeks ago the Warriors told NRL bosses Peter V'Landys and Andrew Abdo that they had until 19 July to make progress with getting exemptions for families to travel to Australia.

If the NRL could not deliver, Warriors interim coach Todd Payten said at the time that any players wanting to leave the Warriors' Central Coast base to return to New Zealand were free to do so.

Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu'a, Agnatius Pasi and King Vuniyayawa have all indicated they would head home to be with their families.

Abdo will meet with the Warriors players today to discuss exemptions for families but Abdo told 2GB radio that the exemptions had not yet been received.

"Of course it's a large squad, the players within that squad are human beings and have unique circumstances," Abdo told 2GB's Continuous Call.

"We haven't been able to bring all of the families across, there's about 12 players who haven't been able to bring their families across and that's because we can't get the exemption that we need.

"Some of the players have personal circumstances which are causing strain, we respect that and are working with them again on a daily basis and we'll look at other ways to support the squad up in Terrigal.

"At this stage, they're incredibly positive, the large majority of the squad are in a situation that we believe is sustainable and we have to deal with the individual players and their circumstances as they come up."

Speaking after the Warriors' 16-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans on Friday night, Payten confirmed the players who had considered leaving were all still expected to exit.

Lock Isaiah Papali'i doesn't believe the issue will have a major affect on the team as a whole this week.

"I think it's more for them (the four players) to be worrying about it rather than us as a team because I guess we've got to keep moving forward no matter what happens really so we're just going to support the boys with making that decision and primarily focus on Sunday's game (against the Sharks).

Dejected Warriors players.


In a media conference on Monday Papali'i was asked if the four do head home, how tough would it be for the rest of the team.

"This whole year has been a bit funny with things being up and down everywhere so obviously its another obstacle in the road but I guess we'll sit down if it does happen and put it all out there and then try and move on as quickly as we can."

Prior to leaving for Australia two months ago, the players had only agreed to make the move if the NRL could assure them that their families would be able to be based in Australia too.