Relief as Warriors lock in 2022 Qld home

·3-min read

For the first time in almost two years there was relief in the Warriors camp when it was confirmed on Wednesday night they'll spend a third NRL season in Australia.

In 2022 the Warriors will be based in Redcliffe with players and staff to move into their own accommodation to give stability to families, allowing children to go to school and partners to find jobs.

The club had hoped to return to New Zealand but chief executive Cameron George said it was the most sensible decision to get certainty for the first time since they arrived in Australia in March 2020.

The closure of the trans-Tasman bubble and state border restrictions have thrown plans to go home into chaos, but the decision to remain in Redcliffe gives them the chance to plan at least a year ahead.

"It is the most difficult thing to manage, there's so many balls in the air," George said on Thursday.

"The most challenging thing is when you see families ripped apart.

"It's happening everywhere but I've got staff here who haven't seen their families in months. I haven't seen my family in four months.

"It hurts, it's tough and we want to get home but we've also got a job to do, we've got an obligation to our fan base and our sponsors and we've got to keep ploughing through it.

"The stress of this year has been greater than last year, and it's probably been harder."

The plan effectively makes the Warriors a fourth Queensland team with Redcliffe coming on as their feeder club for 2022.

They hope to play six games in New Zealand next year and six in Redcliffe as their home ground after being based out of the Central Coast for most of 2020 and 2021.

"It was a relief," George said.

"There's children who need to go to school, make friends at school and not fear they're going to be moved again in the near future.

"There's a balance of personal and professional life and we've got to try and get personal lives as stable as possible."

The Warriors will start the pre-season on November 8, but there is no guarantee they'll be able to return home before training begins.

Two weeks of quarantine on either side of the border knocks out a significant chunk of time, while a shortage of managed isolation spots in New Zealand means players and staff are essentially stranded until places open up.

Star recruit Shaun Johnson is already in New Zealand after getting an early release from Cronulla, but will now need to relocate to Redcliffe for the pre-season.

George also confirmed that some club staff won't be returning to Australia next year once they're able to get home, although in some cases their roles have been restructured to ensure they can still work.

"Those who aren't coming back next year, it's done purely for personal reasons and we understand that and respect that," he said.

"They didn't sign up to be living in Australia, they signed up to be based at Mt Smart."

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