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How The Trans-Tasman Bubble Affects New Zealand Clubs In Australia

D
espite the New Zealand Government’s decision to introduce a trans-Tasman bubble on April 19, both the New Zealand Warriors and the Wellington Phoenix have revealed they will remain in Australia as planned.

Announcing the trans-Tasman bubble, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said Australians would not be required to complete mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival in New Zealand.

“Our health response now gives us an opportunity to commit with loved ones again as we start a new chapter in our recovery,” Ardern said.

“Cabinet was presented with advice today that conditions for opening up quarantine-free travel with Australia had been met.

“The director-general of health considers the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from Australia to New Zealand to now be low, and that quarantine-free travel would be safe to commence,” she said.

In response to the decision, Warriors CEO, Cameron George, said the announcement is a positive step to the club returning home to New Zealand later in the NRL season, but the club will stay in Australia as planned until June 21.

“Today’s announcement of a travel bubble is cause for excitement but it doesn’t immediately affect our plans,” George said.

“Our position is that we will stay in Australia until after playing Newcastle on June 19.

“We had discussions with the NRL and our players and staff about our plan to ensure we have some stability for the first 15 rounds of the season.

“Our desire hasn’t changed.

“We want to be back home as soon as it’s feasible so we can have our team playing in front of our families, members, fans and our supportive sponsors.

“When it’s safe to do so, we look forward to sharing the biggest homecoming party with everyone at Mount Smart Stadium but we need to be absolutely sure we will be able to travel to and from Australia with confidence to ensure our place in the competition isn’t jeopardised.

“As we have done throughout, we will keep monitoring the situation and will seek the best possible advice,” he said.

In the A-League, the Wellington Phoenix issued a statement indicating it “will continue to base itself out of Wollongong in New South Wales until the end of the 2020/21 A-League season”.

Despite this, the club hopes to play up to two matches in New Zealand over the course of the remainder of the season, with the club saying: “The club wishes to stress that no definitive decision on a return has been made as yet, particularly as there are a range of factors involved in this decision, not just for the club but the A-League in a wider sense, due to the risk involved in traveling to another country and the possibility of further COVID outbreaks in either country.”

The trans-Tasman travel bubble has also provided some certainty for the upcoming trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition across May and June with Australia’s Super Rugby AU clubs due to face off in a five-week home-and-away tournament against New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clubs.

In the NBL, the New Zealand Breakers are yet to release an official statement following the border announcement but are due to play home games in Tasmania throughout this month following time across Hobart and Melbourne throughout the 2021 season.