New Zealand Warriors star Peta Hiku opens up on decision to leave teammates for baby birth


“What made it tougher was the amount of time we were given to make the decision. Geez, they didn’t give us time to come up with a plan B.”

Earlier on Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all travellers arriving in the country after Sunday night would be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Peta Hiku played with the Warriors in Newcastle on Saturday and decided to return to New Zealand to be with his partner Lisa before she gives birth.Credit:AAP

The Warriors resolved to remain in Australia until at least the end of round two, ensuring this weekend’s clash with Canberra will go ahead. However, the club – which is currently based in Kingscliff – is yet to make a call on whether to remain in Australia or return home. Only Hiku and teammate Patrick Herbert, who only just became a father himself, decided to head back to New Zealand.

The Kiwi international said Lisa was torn about whether he should stay or go.

“It was a tough conversation between me and her,” Hiku said. “She was wanting me to stay and play but wanting me at home at the same time.

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“That was tough, it was sort of stressful. Having me around [was important], her family is all in Sydney and we didn’t really have anyone around who was going to be available 24-7.

“It was about helping her and taking some time off her hands. The tough part was if I stayed away, not knowing what was going to happen the next day.

“With what was going on and the information coming at us so fast, things were changing within the hour, within the day.

“I’m sort of glad the boys were pushing me away to come home and be with my family.”

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said he anticipated that the coronavirus situation would “resolve itself”, a pointer towards rugby league following most other global sports in shutting down their competitions.

In the meantime, Hiku will be present for the birth of his third child.

“The first one I was still young when I had her and the next one I was at Penrith and got injured,” he said.

“It was a good time to be injured because I got to spend time with the baby.

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“I’m hoping things might change around travel. Even if I travel today I still miss out the next two games because I still have to be in isolation for the next 14 days.

“It’s a tough one, it’s up in the air. We still don’t know what is going to happen with the competition.

“It would have helped if we had a timeframe or knew what was going on. Even if the team does come home, we’re going to be out for two weeks no matter what.”

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