General Returning to Mt Smart

1995Warriorsfan

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Feb 22, 2016
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NRL 2021: New Zealand Warriors set for another season based in Australia due to COVID​

The Warriors last played at their home ground of Mt Smart Stadium in August 2019 - and they’re resigned to spending a third straight season in Australia.

David Riccio David Riccio
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7 min read
August 29, 2021 - 8:20AM
News Corp Australia https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s.../08040a3650bb2d3e5347af09b361eb9a#share-tools
NRL: The Canberra Raiders left it late but eventually were able to overcome the Warriors to keep their Finals hopes alive

The nomadic Warriors are resigned to spending a third straight NRL season based in Australia – a personal toll that includes the children of players moving between five different primary schools over the past 19 months.
An ARL Commission meeting on Tuesday will discuss the difficult, but inevitable decision of keeping the Warriors players and families in Australia for the 2022 season.
The Warriors haven’t been back to New Zealand or played at their home ground of Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland since August, 2019.

With one round remaining in the regular season for the Warriors, club CEO Cameron George has provided the commission with an urgent proposal that includes the club setting-up a new ‘home’ base at Redcliffe in Brisbane.

Warriors players take part in a training session at their new ‘home’ base in Redcliffe. Picture: NRL Photos

Warriors players take part in a training session at their new ‘home’ base in Redcliffe. Picture: NRL Photos

The Warriors need an answer from the NRL “on where they’re headed” in order to commence pre-season training on November 1.
George has also written a document that provides the NRL with the unlikely scenario of allowing the club to return to New Zealand.
But due to the uncertainty of New Zealand and Australia’s on-going border closures, George said the Warriors were resigned to mitigating “risk to the rest of the competition going ahead with all 16 teams’’ by staying in Australia.
“We’ve settled on the fact that we’ll continue to stay here on the Gold Coast because we absolutely have nowhere else to go,’’ George said.
“The important part for me was getting a roof over our club heading into the off season so no family, no individual is stressed or worried.
Warriors CEO Cameron George (L) and head coach Nathan Brown have had to hold the club together during a tough period.

Warriors CEO Cameron George (L) and head coach Nathan Brown have had to hold the club together during a tough period.

“My whole focus has been to create stability for the next 12-months for our footy club and that is sitting with the NRL now.
“I’ve put proposals to them to create that stability and I’ve tried to de-risk the scenario as much as possible so it doesn’t create a great deal of risk to the competition and also to the opposing teams.
“And most importantly, it gives our families, who have had five different homes this year...some of the children have been to five different schools this year.
“And that’s unfair. No one signs up for that.’’
Warriors players have gotten used to living out of suitcases. Photo: Tim Pascoe

Warriors players have gotten used to living out of suitcases. Photo: Tim Pascoe

REDCLIFFE WARRIORS
The Warriors have been in Australia since January 3, 2020 when they first used Tamworth as their training base.
They have since set-up residence at Terrigal on the NSW central coast before moving again to their current base at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
The Redcliffe Dolphins joined the Warriors as their feeder-club last year and George believes that relationship best serves the club as a home for 2022.
“There’s only two options; be in New Zealand and live normally and travel to Australia 12 times a year. That is a dream for us. We would love nothing more than that,’’ George said.
“However, you can‘t be stupid and ignore the facts which is, we can’t even get home, so how are we even dreaming of playing in New Zealand.
“That’s clearly not an option and so then there’s the Australian-based option.
“If we‘re going to be based in Australia we’ve got to be set-up and ready to go by 1 November.
“We’ve got a relationship with Redcliffe. It provides us with a facility and with many different facets of high performance.
“Location-wise, QLD has been, as far as Covid-19 numbers go, the safest option
“So we believe with our relationship with Redcliff being our feeder-club, that would make a lot of sense.”
Reece Walsh has made an immediate impact in 2021, as a key part of the Warriors’ recruitment. Picture: Getty

Reece Walsh has made an immediate impact in 2021, as a key part of the Warriors’ recruitment. Picture: Getty

PLAYER EXODUS AND RECRUITMENT
George praised the financial support of Warriors owner Mark Robinson, who has been unwavering despite the non-existent status of his club in New Zealand.
George added that Robinson‘s commitment provided him with confidence that a third consecutive season wouldn’t result in a mass of players wanting to quit and return home.
He also looked for positives in how the Warriors can recruit, but still develop youth players in New Zealand.
“The players know they’ve got an owner who has their best interest at heart - Mark has been incredible,’’ George said.
“It’s a good question (if players want to leave) but there’s no other option for them.
“They either play football in Australia - or they don‘t.
“We’re still investing heavily in our junior pathways at home.
“We have Stacey Jones and Tony Iro really focused on getting that right.
“So we’re not forgetting about that.
“Staying here, maybe it provides an opportunity to recruit someone who doesn’t want to live overseas, but sees us being based in Australia for a year as interesting.’’
Kodi Nikorima gives thanks to the crowd. Picture: Getty

Kodi Nikorima gives thanks to the crowd. Picture: Getty

PERSONAL TOLL
George meets with the players and families every week to update them of their at-times stressful status of uncertainty.
“The one thing we’re doing is not speculating,’’ George said.
“We’ve done that very well over the last two years and made our decision based on what’s in place now
“We’re coming towards the end of the season everyone’s stress levels have started to go through the roof.
“My job is to provide that comfort that we‘re looking after this.
“They’re very trustworthy of the open dialogue we’re having with the group.
“We’ve always fought for the best outcome for them. What I know, they know. That’s important to me.’’

IMPACT ON RL IN NEW ZEALAND
The impact on rugby league in New Zealand by the virtual disappearance of the Warriors can‘t be ignored.
George said it was imperative the club and local leagues fought to maintain their foot-hold within the country despite their physical presence.
“That’s where New Zealand rugby league and Auckland rugby league and all the different regions need to continue investing grassroots money,’’ George said.
“The pressures got to come on them. We’re the retail shop front for them.
“We inspire young kids and hopefully what we’re doing here is doing that.
“If we can then gradually start to take games back throughout next year we would love nothing more to do that.
“It’s not ideal, absolutely not - but there’s no other option.’’
Raiders redemption keeps finals dream alive

By Martin Gabor
Canberra’s top eight hopes are still alive after Jordan Rapana missed a penalty goal and then redeemed himself with a try at the death to seal a thrilling 28-16 comeback win over the Warriors.
Rapana was at the centre of one of the wildest finishes of the year when the sides met back in Round 3, denied by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with what would have been the match-winning try in the left corner of GIO Stadium.
But he had his revenge in Mackay, finishing off a brave shift to the left that broke a 16-all deadlock with two minutes remaining as the Raiders ditched their faders tag.
“He tells me every week what he can do, and he’s actually doing it so I can’t criticise him,” a relieved Ricky Stuart said.

The Raiders have kept their finals hopes alive with a win over the Warriors. Picture: Getty Images.

The Raiders have kept their finals hopes alive with a win over the Warriors. Picture: Getty Images.

Hudson Young added another try as the full-time siren sounded as the Raiders put a controversial week behind them to move ahead of the Sharks into eighth spot.
“I’m feeling a lot better than what I was at half-time,” Stuart said.
The Green Machine had earlier conceded a try in the opening minute and then gave up two quick tries as the Warriors punished some poor kick defusals.
But the introduction of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad turned the game on its head. The fullback crossed just before half-time and then set up Seb Kris for the first of his two four-pointers right after the break.
The game looked to be headed for golden point when Rapana missed a penalty goal from 40 metres out, Corey Horsburgh produced two quick errors and then Reece Walsh missed a field goal in the final eight minutes.
But the Raiders chanced their arm late with a shift to the left, which Rapana finished off in style to cap an outstanding night that saw him finish with a game-high 225 metres.
They will qualify for the finals if they beat the Roosters next week and the Sharks fail to win their remaining matches.

Hudson Young scored in the dying seconds to but it all beyond doubt and add to their points differential. Picture: Getty Images.

Hudson Young scored in the dying seconds to but it all beyond doubt and add to their points differential. Picture: Getty Images.

SEASON OVER
Warriors fans were dusting off the calculators in the first half, trying to work out how their team could sneak into the top eight.
But even Einsteinian logic won’t get them into the finals after they blew another big lead to lose a match they really should have won.
The sliding doors moment came before half-time when Chad Townsend’s grubber cannoned into the upright and fell into the arms of Sean O’Sullivan who couldn’t control the ball as he went to the line.
The Warriors came close but their finals hopes are over now. Picture: Getty Images.

The Warriors came close but their finals hopes are over now. Picture: Getty Images.

The Raiders scored moments later, and the Warriors never threatened again. It ends a frustrating year that has again been ruined by Covid and injuries, but they’ll be kicking themselves for their inability to close out tight games.
“It probably summed our season up,” a disappointed Nathan Brown said.
“The way we managed the second half was horrible.”
To make matters worse, Chad Townsend (AC joint) is done for the season, while Matt Lodge is facing another suspension after he was placed on report for a hip drop tackle on Joseph Tapine.

SHIFTING THE GOALPOSTS
It’s probably a good thing the Raiders piled on the points late, otherwise there would have been outrage across the ditch after the touch judges waved away a Reece Walsh conversion that looked to have snuck inside the posts.
The young fullback had a tough day at the office last week against Brisbane, but he looked a lot more confident on Friday with two goals from three attempts.

More Coverage​

But it could have been a perfect night at the office after he looked to have curled one between the uprights as he tried to convert Rocco Berry’s first half try.
Instead, it was waved away, and the Warriors were denied what could have been a vital two points.
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
9,723
Auckland
Hopefully being based at Redcliffe their feeder club helps crowd wise. Get the Q Cup side playing before them as a curtain raiser whenever possible.

A few interesting items in that article. Highlights what they have had to go through with their families.

There was talk of them not being able to get back to NZ until at least December. They will likely need to take their break between the season and pre-season kicking off in Australia. If they do come back it would likely be for Christmas and wouldn't be for very long. They might have been thinking of the split pre-season again but that may not be possible.
 
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the borg

1st Grade Fringe
Jun 8, 2015
665
Borders wont open I believe until at least 80% of the population on both sides of the ditch are vaccinated. Not even sure if MIQ will still be required as well.
How long would it take? Depends on the roll out etc.. so I can't see a Mt Smart game til maybe 2023.. earliest..
 

1995Warriorsfan

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Feb 22, 2016
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Good interview by Vossy.

Link to interview at the end of this.

WARRIORS LIKELY TO STAY IN AUSTRALIA AFTER EXHAUSTING “EVERY AVENUE” TO RETURN HOME​

BY JAY WINTER 3 HOURS AGO
chad_townsend.jpg


The situation for the New Zealand Warriors has turned from bad to worse, after missing out on a spot in the top eight, CEO Cameron George says the relocated Auckland side will “likely” be staying in Queensland for the 2022 season.

The Warriors have failed to gain exemption requests for reentry into New Zealand, despite the Wallabies being granted one for the Bledisloe Cup.

With the club likely to remain across the ditch for another season, George joined SEN 1170’s Breakfast with Vossy to explain the Warriors’ dire situation.
“At this point in time, we’re here indefinitely,” he said.
“As it stands now, we’re based on the Gold Coast.
“We don’t have any MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine) spots booked to go back to New Zealand, the first available ones that we’re trying to get is December 12.
“But at this point in time with the borders shut, we’ve tried every avenue we can to get our players and staff back home, but we’re stuck here.
“We can’t even get a number of Australian players and staff (over there).
“They don’t have access to New Zealand because they’re not eligible to the criteria so we can’t even get half of our team home if we wanted to go through MIQ.”

Assuming they will be staying in Australia, George laid out the Warriors' next plan of action and requested certainty from the NRL.

“We’re planning very proactively on starting pre-season training here at Redcliffe in November,” he said.
“No one has confidence in the borders, even if they do open, they can be shut very quickly.
“Things aren’t changing for the better and no one really knows what the next 12 months holds with vaccinations and all sorts of things.”
Although nothing seems to be going to plan for the Warriors, George has high standards and goals for the next season which he is determined to achieve.
“What we have to do and what we’re focused on doing is providing a stable environment for the next 12 months because we want to win this competition,” he said.
“We want to win as many games as we can, that’s our goal.
“I want to be able to tell the players we’re locked in here for 12 months without fear or failure of the borders and that’s something we’re working on with the NRL as we speak.
“I’d say we’ll be kicking off our pre-season training in Queensland in the next eight weeks.”

 
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1995Warriorsfan

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Feb 22, 2016
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I have just fiinshed listening to the Vossy interview with Cameron George. Its looking more and more likely that the NZ based players, families and staff may not get back to NZ this year.
In my opinion, I believe it is an absolulte disgrace that they can't be given MIQ rooms.
Yes, I know that there are people in the same position who need to get back to NZ but other sports teams have and continue to set a precedent of getting MIQ rooms without much hassle, including the Wallabies, NZ Rugby, NZ cricket, England Netball and both olympic teams.
The All Blacks seem able to travel even at the last minute and then get MIQ rooms organised without any problems.
I know the players are getting paid well and appear to have a good life in Queensland but being away from NZ and their families is difficult. I suspect many of them would be happy to come back to NZ even though we are in lock-down.
The Warriors have been treated poorly, they have given up alot to continue to the play the game we love and to allow us to continue to support our team.
They deserve to be treated better!!
 

mrblonde

Warriors 1st Grader
Apr 14, 2012
4,019
Auckland
By a Labour government too :mad: ...
what is that Bruce?
Labour aren't workers these days, just trendy lefties and university dropouts.
The joke about Labour is that all new Labour MPs would gather together and sing:
"The workers can all kiss my arse/I've got a Parliament seat at last!"

Wonder if Autex tried to pull any strings to get the players back...

In fairness to everyone concerned, I think the Warriors maybe should have called 2021 a Season In Australia way back in March and booked MIQ spots then. But then that would most likely have meant another split pre-season with two camps in two countries which I think we'd all agree is somewhat sub-optimal.

Auckland City Council must be pleased - no pressure to up the maintenance/improvements on Mt Smart since it's not being used for anything much. So just the annual Depreciation write-down expense to take care of, no actual money coming out of the bank. Eden Park, on the other hand, I'm sure some love's going in that direction....
 

snake77

Warriors 1st Grader
Jul 12, 2013
9,723
Auckland
One line from George that stood out was some of them were wandering/questioning if they could do it again (stay in Australia) next year.

It is more than they signed up for as the expectation would of been to head over for the season come back for a rest before starting pre season. Likely split again so they would return after Christmas. That would probably have been a bit easier to gear up for assuming covid was still an issue with travel.

Have to feel for them as they were close to having a home game in Auckland which would of been a great occasion. Earlier in the season with the travel bubble it would of been looking like things were turning.

Now they are likely to have the pre season break and Christmas in Australia.
 
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bruce

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Sep 1, 2015
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One line from George that stood out was some of them were wandering/questioning if they could do it again (stay in Australia) next year.

It is more than they signed up for as the expectation would of been to head over for the season come back for a rest before starting pre season. Likely split again so they would return after Christmas. That would probably have been a bit easier to gear up for assuming covid was still an issue with travel.

Have to feel for them as they were close to having a home game in Auckland which would of been a great occasion. Earlier in the season with the travel bubble it would of been looking like things were turning.

Now they are likely to have the pre season break and Christmas in Australia.
I think if they get settled in Brisbane, with the kids, they can bank on at least two seasons there. Enough time for them to forget what NZ is like.
 

Akkerz

1st Grade Fringe
Contributor
Jun 22, 2012
1,077
The edge of insanity
haven't worked it out but how many NZ based players are still with the Warriiors.
Can't be too many left with all the player changes during the year. Surely it wouldn't put too much of a strain on MIQ
 
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Miket12

Warriors 1st Grader
Apr 20, 2012
10,381

Unfortunately a premium article, but looks exciting! :)

Rugby league: Plan revealed for Warriors to return home and host games at Mt Smart Stadium​

The Warriors are set to remain based in Australia for the 2022 NRL season, but plans have emerged to bring games back to Mt Smart Stadium next season for a long-awaited return. Michael Burgess reports.

The Warriors hope to play half their home games at Mt Smart in 2022, even though they will be based in Australia.

That scenario would represent the best possible compromise, after more than two years without a match in Auckland.

As revealed by the Herald last week, the Warriors are set to be based in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe next season.

Details are still to be finalised, but will be confirmed soon, with the start of pre-season training only two months away.

While the club will live, train and play in the Queensland capital, they hope to stage six matches on this side of the Tasman on a 'fly-in, fly-out' basis.

"We would be looking at taking half our games back, that was our proposal," Warriors chief executive Cameron George told the Herald on Sunday. "We want to take as many as we can."

It's seen as a pragmatic solution to a complex problem.

"It would be a huge boost," says George. "Regardless of what people feel and think, that we should take the risk [to be based in New Zealand], it's hard to, because you need to manage so many outcomes. But if we can achieve this, it will be huge for our fans."
It is envisaged that both teams would fly to Auckland 48 hours before a game, then return to Australia the day after the match.

The club have not considered a repeat of this year's plan, where the season was divided into three sections, with return dates pencilled in after each block.

"It was complicated and it didn't work," said George. "In theory it sounded good but wasn't ideal for the families, every three months, thinking, well, what are we doing?"

After today's game against the Titans (4pm), the players and staff will remain together on the Gold Coast for the foreseeable future.

Assistant coach Justin Morgan admits it has been a difficult week, as the realisation of the finals failure hit home, but they will be ready.

"We are focused on finishing the season with a performance that we can be proud of," said Morgan. "There is some underlying disappointment that we are not playing next week, but that's the way it rolls."

After Cronulla's 28-16 loss to Melbourne on Friday, the Titans can claim eighth spot if they beat the Warriors by a margin of 11 points or more.

"That is a good thing for us," said Morgan. "They are going to come to play. That will make sure that we are focused. If we dig in, come with the right attitude and play to our potential, hopefully the result looks after itself."

It's also a farewell match for the Townsville bound Peta Hiku, a mercurial talent who has been at the centre of most of the Warriors' best attacking moments since 2018. The 28-year-old didn't want to leave his hometown club, but opted for the Cowboys, who offered a longer, two-year deal.

"He is a natural footballer, can play almost anywhere and has been great for the young players," said Morgan. "It would have been great to keep him, but we understand he had to secure a future for his family. We just have to work really hard, coach really hard and develop those young players, who will need to continue to grow."

It's likely that Kodi Nikorima will be left out of the initial 17 named, with Morgan saying coaches have opted to "go with Jazz Tevaga this week".

 

kos

1st Grade Fringe
Mar 16, 2013
1,041
If we look at the 21 on todays game list.
The only NZ based players are
Hiku-going to NQ anyway.
CHT
Eliesa Katoa presume he has Auckand family?
Jazz Tevaga
Adam Pompey
Edward Kosi

Bunty Afoa off list injured

Thats excluding the fringe players who play for Redcliffe etc.


Its a rdiculously small list of NZ players for a team called the NZ Warriors.

Its starting to grate on me a bit -the fact that this team is what 70 per cent Aussie players.

Will this or is this team starting to lose its connection with NZ based NZ warriors fans?
 

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