The New Zealand Warriors are a very difficult problem for the NRL to work out.
The club itself wants to participate in the NRL season once everything restarts. Most of the players want to take part in the season too. All the signs are positive from the Warriors point of view.
The problem comes with the fact that when the season does restart, there will no doubt be travel restrictions still in place.
To take part in the NRL season the Warriors will be forced to charter a flight from New Zealand to Australia. The entire club will then have to go into a 14 day quarantine as all international travellers into Australia are forced into.
The Warriors then would have to stay in one of the NRL’s quarantine bubbles. Nobody coming in, nobody going out.
Keep in mind the Warriors players and staff will have to go through all of this in a foreign country, away from all their family and friends, and if at any point they did want to return home for any reason they would have to charter a flight back to New Zealand and enter their 14 day quarantine before they could see any of their loved ones again!
The Rugby League community has really got behind the Warriors, but that is a lot to deal with if you’re one of the people that actually has to go through all of that.
We are seeing some clubs and players in Queensland being hesitant to head down south and lock themselves away. That is nothing compared to what the New Zealand Warriors have to go through.
You then have to think about how the Warriors would before under all of this pressure. The Warriors aren’t the best travelling team as it is. How would they perform under these circumstances?
If the Warriors players go through all of these steps to take part in the 2020 NRL season, and they lose 8 games in a row, what effect will that have on player moral? How many players would decide to head home at that point?
What all of this boils down to us one simple question. Is all of this hassle worth it for the New Zealand Warriors and the NRL?
The Warriors club will be thankful for the television exposure so that they can at least get some money flowing through the club as they service their sponsors and their commitment to participating in the NRL.
The Warriors players will want to play to receive as much money as they can under their contract. There is also the fact that people forget sometimes that Rugby League players want to get out there and play Rugby League!
It needs to be remembered that not every Warriors player who goes through this will be on big money. You can say that the players on the big salaries will get financially compensated well to go through all of this. There are a lot of players at the Warriors who will go through this who won’t be on hundreds of thousands of dollars a season.
Last but not least, what happens if a player gets injured. Now you have a player who has to head to hospital, a risk on its own, and would have to be isolated from EVERYONE completely as they recover from their injury. That would be a horrible situation to go through.
Im the first to say, I think the New Zealand Warriors should be backed with what ever decision they make. The club should get special backing from the NRL to make sure their viability is never under threat because of this pandemic.
I just think all of the hassle that the Warriors would have to go through might not actually be worth it at the end of the day. There are so many hurdles to clear and so much that would need to be asked of from players are staff of the club, at some point I just think it might be completely unfair to put the club through all of that.
The New Zealand Warriors have bran brilliant through all of this. You couldn’t ask for more of the players and the club itself.
It might be unfair at this point to keep asking more of them. As some point it just becomes too much of a sacrifice to play some games of football.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com