The National Rugby League (NRL) has welcomed the New Zealand Warriors decision to relocate to NSW for a three-month block from January 3 to April 4.
The team will run an initial camp in Tamworth, before moving to the Central Coast in February.
The sacrifice provides certainty for the playing group and their families and ensures the club has the best opportunity to prepare for the start of the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
The Club’s Round 1 and Round 2 games against the Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle Knights will be relocated from Mt Smart Stadium to Central Coast Stadium.
The NRL will continue working closely with the Australian and New Zealand Governments on the development of a Trans-Tasman travel bubble to enable the team to be based in Auckland for the vast majority of the 2021 season.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo thanked the Warriors for making significant personal sacrifices for the second year in a row.
“The Warriors are a special club to all of us. They have again put the competition ahead of their own personal interests. Their sacrifices cannot be overstated, on behalf of the Australian Rugby League Commission and the game I want to thank the players and staff for what they are doing for the competition,” he said.
“The Warriors were one of the great stories of the 2020 season, almost making the semi-finals after becoming the first team in the world to relocate to a different country for a season. I know the club has been very much been adopted by both the Central Coast and Tamworth communities.”
Mr Abdo said the NRL remained confident the Warriors would return home for the bulk of the 2021 season.
“We remain committed to the Warriors playing the majority of their season in New Zealand and recent news regarding a vaccine and a near zero infection rate in Australia is very positive,” he said.
“The decision of the club and the playing group provides them with some certainty. Currently, some of the squad is located in Australia and some in New Zealand.
“The most effective way for the squad to become one is in Australia. It also provides the Warriors with the best chance to prepare for the season ahead.”