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‘Everyone is hopeful’: NRL plan to let Warriors host games at Auckland in 2021

But the ability to transfer timeslots from New Zealand local time will fit easier within the NRL’s broadcast schedule should they be forced to play home matches on Australian soil, rather than vice versa.

For example, if the Warriors were to have home games scheduled in Australia at an 8pm timeslot on Friday or 7.30pm on Saturday night, and were then allowed to return to New Zealand, the matches would be played at times unpalatable for their local market.

The Warriors will have their home games scheduled for New Zealand when the NRL draw is released later this week.

The Warriors will have their home games scheduled for New Zealand when the NRL draw is released later this week.Credit:NRL Photos

“If they constructed it on the basis that we’re in Australia, the timeslots wouldn’t work out if we could come back and play in New Zealand,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to have to live with what we get.

“Everyone is hopeful of having a few games [at home in New Zealand] early and a few games late. Maybe we can have a few home games to start with, alternatively if we aren’t here it would be great to have a few home games at the back end of the season because we’re more of a chance of being back in New Zealand then.”

Suggestions the Warriors should be allowed to play every match at home as a goodwill gesture for their sacrifice in keeping the 2020 competition alive won’t be realised given the other 15 NRL clubs have commitments with various venues.

Brown spent two weeks in quarantine in New Zealand before taking charge of pre-season training last week, while a small group of Australian-based players has started their summer conditioning in Kiama on the NSW south coast. The entire squad is not expected to come together until January.

‘It’s one thing to have borders open, but the most important thing is to have confidence they’re going to stay open.’

Cameron George

The situation has again provided a logistical conundrum for the Warriors, who are closely monitoring border control from the New Zealand government in the lead-up to Christmas before deciding where they will continue their pre-season in 2021.

“It’s one thing to have borders open, but the most important thing is to have confidence they’re going to stay open because if they don’t, that is when you get stuck,” George said. “The next couple of weeks are important to us.”

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The Warriors have formed a partnership with the Redcliffe Dolphins, allowing the club to send fringe players to the Queensland Cup for valuable game time in 2021. They could use Redcliffe as an Australian base if they are again forced to relocate to Australia, or return to the Central Coast where they played out of Gosford.

Brown has added key recruits Addin Fonua-Blake and Bayley Sironen on long term deals in recent months to complement the additions of Ben Murdoch-Masila, Kane Evans and Euan Aitken.

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