Warriors approved for return as NRL restart plan takes shape

Coach Stephen Kearney and the Warriors have been granted permission to return to Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Warriors boss Cameron George says arriving at their new Tamworth training base will be just the tonic, after the NRL club's anxious wait to return to Australia was rubber-stamped on Saturday.

However George confirmed the target was to move to the Central Coast following their period in quarantine, and host games there for the remainder of the remodelled NRL season.

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The New Zealand-based franchise were officially cleared for take-off on Saturday and will arrive in the NSW country town on Sunday afternoon, with Tamworth's domestic airport given an exemption to accept a one-off international flight.

The Australian Border Force approval was the latest green light as the NRL targets a May 28 competition resumption, an ambition strengthened by the Warriors' ability to train while they undertake a 14-day isolation period.

George hoped a plan would be in place for families to join teammates within a month and entertained the prospect of further relaxations between the two countries helping their cause.

While he said the chance to play again in Auckland this season would be nice, George said their focus was on a move from Tamworth to the Central Coast for the duration of their campaign.

"They're very excited and finally got some direction, some certainty which is crucial to these guys and their families," he said.

"We can't underestimate how challenging it's been.

"I think everyone's just climbing the walls; they'll love seeing a green oval that they can train together on with their mates.

"They're looking forward to going and it's really good for the team that they get this chance because at some stages it looked a bit shaky."

Warriors choose preference

George said he wasn't sure of the NRL's venue arrangements, but was happy to state his preference when asked on Saturday.

"Whether they have two or three central grounds (where everyone plays) I'm not quite sure," he said.

"However if we're based on the Central Coast, obviously there's a stadium there (in Gosford) and we're close to Newcastle, and also close to Sydney.

"Ideal scenario could be Central Coast but ... that could differ from the NRL's view."

The Warriors will have access to an in-house wellbeing officer while in Australia and, like all clubs, be subject to a biosecurity briefing on Monday before training gets the all-clear.

The approval follows Friday's crucial move from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, confirming borders would be open for the state's three NRL teams to play in NSW.

"This is an excellent outcome for rugby league and another step towards the competition resuming on May 28,'' Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys said.

"As a game, we cannot thank the Warriors enough for everything they are doing.

"Right from the start of this pandemic, the club and its players have put the competition first and for that, we will be forever thankful."