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Warriors Situation “Sustainable” Despite Likely Player Walk-Outs

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cting NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo, said the New Zealand Warriors current situation in Australia is “sustainable”, despite the likelihood of a number of players returning home to New Zealand.

Interim Warriors coach, Todd Payten, confirmed on Friday that players Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu’a, Agnatius Paasi, and King Vuniyayawa were likely to return to New Zealand following next week’s matchup with the Cronulla Sharks.

This comes as the NRL is still reportedly in negotiations with Australian Border Patrol authorities, trying to gain approval for the Warriors player’s families to fly to Australia and join the team in the isolated camp.

Abdo told 2GB’s Continuous Call Team the NRL has been unable to bring all the player’s families over from New Zealand due to the ongoing travel restrictions in place by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Warriors have been terrific so far,” Abdo said.

“Of course it’s a large squad, the players within that squad are human beings and have unique circumstances.

“We haven’t been able to bring all of the families across, there’s about 12 players who haven’t been able to bring their families across and that’s because we can’t get the exemption that we need.

“Some of the players have personal circumstances which are causing strain, we respect that and are working with them again on a daily basis and we’ll look at other ways to support the squad up in Terrigal.

“At this stage, they’re incredibly positive, the large majority of the squad are in a situation that we believe is sustainable and we have to deal with the individual players and their circumstances as they come up,” he said.

Payten said on Friday the players who are heading home to New Zealand will be missed, but he understands their reasoning.

“It’ll put pressure on us but at the end of the day for the reasons they have to go back, they have to go back,” Payten said.

“I asked them to commit until after the Sharks game and they gave me that commitment.

“It was a bit of clarity for us, we’ve all got our heads around the fact that we’re not going home.

“With everything that’s happened in Victoria and more outbreaks, we’re not going home, so I think we’ve got our heads around it,” he said.