'Setting a standard': How Aussie cricket has inspired the NZ Warriors

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney is drawing inspiration from the Aussie cricket side. Pic: Getty

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney will use Aussie cricket mentor Justin Langer's transformation of the Australian cricket team as inspiration when he sets about leading the New Zealand-based side into their monumental NRL challenge.

The Warriors were coming to terms with their new reality on Monday as they settled into quarantine in Tamworth, the 50-strong group having begun the day with breakfast at one-seat tables spaced 1.5 metres apart.

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Ahead of them is two weeks under lockdown in the rural NSW city, where wiping down weights, training in small groups and avoiding public contact will become the norm.

That kick-starts up to six months in Australia and away from home to see out the revamped competition.

Kearney said the unprecedented scenario provided players with an opportunity to rise to the occasion and carve a place for themselves in the history of the club and the competition.

He compared his job to that faced by Langer when he assumed the top coaching position in Australian cricket, in the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

During his lockdown period in Auckland, Kearney became engrossed in the documentary series, The Test, which focused on Langer’s job of restoring public perception of the Australian cricket team, following the controversy.

The series outlined the holistic transformation of the Australian cricket team, culminating in the Test team defending the Ashes in England 18 months later.

"I certainly grew to admire what Justin Langer had done with the group by the end of the Ashes tour," he said.

"It's about setting a standard and he was very clear about that right from the outset, about making Australians proud of their cricket team again.

"So in that sense, we do feel that comes with a huge responsibility on our part and the boys were made pretty clear about that responsibility this morning."

Kearney said plans were not yet finalised on how David Fusitu'a and Nathaniel Roache would join the team after the players missed Sunday's trans-Tasman flight.

Roache has tested negative to COVID-19, having woken with a sore throat that saw him blocked from boarding the plane as a precaution, while Fusitu'a was absent on compassionate grounds.

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An arrival date for the pair hasn't been decided and they may yet have to self-isolate for 14 days away from teammates in their hotel rooms.

Kearney said the remainder of the playing group will confront the harsh realities of New Zealand's strict lockdown process when they return to training.

He revealed many had lacked sufficient weight-training resources at their homes and had presented in a slimmed-down state.

"Looking at a lot of them, they probably haven't been doing the bigger weights so I can see the muscle mass has dropped," Kearney said.

"It's really important over the next three weeks there's enough time to get them up to speed.

"It'll mean a lot of hard work but I'm sure they'll be ready for it."

One positive for Kearney should be a fully-fit squad at his disposal.

"They've been locked down for five weeks, there'd better not be any injuries," he said.

with Yahoo Sport staff