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V'landys: Warriors flying into Tamworth but doesn't expect long-term stay

ARL chairman Peter V'landys is hopeful a "trans-Tasman bubble" will allow the Warriors to play a portion of the 2020 competition from New Zealand as the club prepares to base itself in Tamworth from Sunday.

There were expectations that a National Cabinet meeting chaired by Scott Morrison on Friday would provide Warriors players with the all-important official green light for players to fly into regional NSW.

However, the Prime Minister announced the states would make the decision on the NRL's return, with Border Force officials working through the Warriors travel exemption.

Once that is finalised Tamworth Airport is expected to be given temporary international status in time for the Warriors' 4pm flight on Sunday, when the club's chartered flight carrying their top-tier NRL squad and accompanying staff is due to touch down.

Players will then observe the mandatory two-week quarantine in country NSW, with a clearance for them to begin group training from Tuesday also expected to be delivered.

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NRL games will return to the Sunshine State when the competition resumes after Queensland-based sides were given approval to resume training and travel by the Palaszczuk government.

The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans are set to be granted exemptions for group training from Monday following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's backing of the NRL's proposed May 28 restart date.

V'landys spoke to senior Warriors players during Friday's phone hook-up with RLPA delegates, assuring them "they will be on the plane" once the Border Force exemption is provided in writing to the NRL.

As it stands the Warriors' stay in Australia is for an indefinite period.

But with Morrison and Kiwi counterpart Jacinda Ardern publicly discussing the prospect of travel restrictions easing between Australia and New Zealand later in the year, V'landys is hopeful the Warriors could operate out of Auckland at some point in a restructured 20-round season.

"Listening to media reports, the first country that's going to be allowed entry into Australia is New Zealand ad vice-versa," V'landys told

"Basically if those two restrictions are removed there's nothing stopping the Warriors going backwards and forwards as normal.

"We'd hope that information is correct and that's a progression that happens because it would make for a much shorter stretch than the Warriors had first contemplated."

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who is also the nation's foreign minister, spoke on Thursday about a trans-Tasman bubble operating without 14-day quarantine periods between the two countries.

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''It could happen at level 2 (coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand) as long as you had a guarantee as to who was coming and their safety and security,'' Peters said.

''The moment you put in a 14-day quarantine forget it - it's not going to work."

By the same token, any mandatory quarantining would make the Warriors travelling home and back for NRL games logistically impossible.

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In the meantime, the Warriors plan to relocate closer to Sydney once their two-week quarantine period is observed in Tamworth, where they plan to train at Scully Park.

Stephen Kearney's side would potentially base themselves on the Central Coast afterwards ahead of the NRL's May 28 restart date.

Following discussions between the NRL and RLPA on Friday morning, the Warriors and players from the other 15 teams will be put through a biosecurity "education day" on Monday, but may not begin training until later in the week once several matters including remuneration and health measures are confirmed.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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