Halfback Blake Green believes the Warriors are at a disadvantage compared to every other NRL club skill and fitness-wise because of New Zealand’s stricter lockdown regulations.
The Auckland-based outfit is awaiting approval from the federal and state governments, as well as Border Force, to be cleared to arrive in Australia on Sunday ahead of the NRL’s planned May 28 return from the coronavirus shutdown.
For just over a month, the players have been confined to training at their homes, with the only exception being street running or individual workouts at public parks.
Green said that compared unfavourably with the 15 other NRL teams, whose more lenient restrictions in Australia have allowed scope for players to work in pairs.
“That has probably been the disadvantage for us, to be honest,” Green told a podcast hosted by broadcaster Marc Peard.
“We’ve been in full-blown lockdown, it’ll almost tick on to five weeks by the time next week rolls around.
“Whereas Australia, they’ve been part-time, they’ve been training in pairs and threes and then going and getting takeaway coffees.”
New Zealand’s national alert level was loosened on Tuesday but the restrictions regarding training are unchanged for the Warriors.
They are also still to learn if they will be allowed to train as a team during their two weeks’ quarantine in NSW.
Other uncertainty surrounds the Warriors, including whether the NRL can meet their request for families to be accommodated during an Australian stay that will span months.
Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters has suggested the Warriors players could actually benefit from spending time away from loved ones, saying it could galvanise the team.
It may not find favour with the Warriors, but Walters believed it was unrealistic for the family request to be met and that it could ultimately prove to be an advantage.
“Lots of those players would have gone on tours overseas for two, three months at a time where their wives and families wouldn’t be in attendance,” Walters told Sky Sports Radio.
“I see it as a huge advantage…the amount of time those guys will be spending together.”
Walters believed the Warriors spending an extended period together in Australia was a small sacrifice to make to ensure the NRL competition re-started.
“We’ve just come through ANZAC Day, the sacrifices that all those men and women have made…for some players to pack up and move away from home for two, four weeks whatever it is, it is a really small sacrifice I would have thought.”
Former NSW and Canberra playmaker Laurie Daley agreed.
“In an ideal world you would love your family to be around you but the situation is no one is forcing you to come across here to play,” Daley told Sky Sports Radio.
“I totally understand if they don’t want to make that commitment, I get it…but for the game to thrive and for you to receive your payments you have to and be a part of it.”
Originally published as Warriors already at a disadvantage: Green