Canberra fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has paid tribute to the Warriors for their sacrifice in staying away from families to help keep the NRL running amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A former teammate and friend of many Warriors who have been left stranded by the health crisis, Nicoll-Klokstad appreciated the personal sacrifices they have made.
"I’ve spoken to a couple [of players], they haven’t really gone into detail. I’ve just wanted to see where their heads were at and if they’re OK," Nicoll-Klokstad said.
"They’re in a hard predicament in trying to uphold the game and what they do for us as individuals and what they have to do as a family man.
"I feel for them, they’re in a hard situation. I get upset when I’m telling my boys I am leaving for a few days let alone that Daddy has got to stay away for another week."
Nicoll-Klokstad would not be drawn to comment on Cameron Smith’s suggestion the competition should be suspended immediately.
However, he did express his confidence that the powerbrokers of the game were trying to balance player and community welfare.
Todd Greenberg and Graham Annesley media conference
"It is a unique situation for our game, but I think the way they [the NRL] are dealing with it is pretty good so we can only control what we can and that’s preparing for this week’s game.
"It’s a hard one, we literally just finished round one and we’re all footy players and we’ve done the hard work on the [training] paddock and all we want to do is play footy.
"But it’s about looking after your families, the situation the Warriors are in, man I really feel for them."
Elliott Whitehead said the Raiders were trying to keep their heads down, but understood they too are just as affected by the pandemic.
"We’re just training and getting on with this as if we are going to play this week.
"It is a bit serious and it’s getting more serious day by day, but we’re just going to have to take it day by day but it’s a lot more [at stake] than rugby at the moment there’s people’s health at risk too."
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said on Monday the premiership would likely change the moment a player tested positive and the potential for a competition continuing without an isolated club was being modelled.
Regardless of the drama off the field, Whitehead knows the Raiders are capable of more after a solid 18-point win over Gold Coast in round one.
"After pre-season being everywhere, we really wanted to get off to a good start and I thought we managed to do that against the Gold Coast," he said.
"We probably fell away a little bit in the second half and made a few more errors, but we’ve looked at that and hopefully we can fix that this weekend."
Every try from Round 1
Nicoll-Klokstad said he would be right to play after failing his HIA test last weekend, which means Bailey Simonsson will move back to left wing.
"Another game another swap mid-game for me, but it was a shame Charnze had to come off with the head knock," Simonsson said.
"I just had to do my job and I thought we did a pretty good job to overcome that."