New Zealand Warriors coach Stephen Kearney turns to ‘The Test’ for inspiration


In Kearney’s eyes, the Warriors are no different in that department.

“We’re in a position where we aren’t too sure how long we are going to be away for but what we do have control over is how we go about our business. That’s going to be really important for us, moving forward,” he said.

Adam Blair arrives at Auckland airport on Sunday ready to depart for Tamworth after an emotional farewell with family.Credit:Getty

The size of the challenge awaiting the Warriors hit home as they said their goodbyes to family on Sunday.

“When we arrived at Auckland airport, it was a pretty challenging time, to be honest, for all of them,” Kearney said. “Obviously they were leaving families, wives, children, their girlfriends. It’s been a bit of a challenge for them, not knowing when we might see them next. A lot of them have said in the couple of days (prior to departure) was pretty tough.”

While the Warriors are hopeful family will be able to join them in Australia by June or July, Kearney has the task of setting the players on the right path ahead of the May 28 season restart.

He was pleasantly surprised with the shape of his players when arrived in at Auckland Airport and the club now hopes they might be able to pinch a few games back at Mount Smart Stadium at the end of the season.

The Warriors arrive at Tamworth airport on Sunday night before being whisked away to their base at a hotel in town, where they will quarantine for 14 days.

The Warriors arrive at Tamworth airport on Sunday night before being whisked away to their base at a hotel in town, where they will quarantine for 14 days.Credit:AAP

That prospect gathered further momentum when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison invited his Kiwi counterpart Jacinda Ardern to join Tuesday’s national cabinet discussion, where the easing of restrictions on travel between the trans-Tasman neighbours is expected to be raised.

“If we were to get some games at Mt Smart in the back end of the competition, it would be fabulous,” Kearney said. “We will certainly keep our fingers crossed and hope everyone does the right thing on both sides of the Tasman so we might get to that stage.”

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Nathaniel Roache – who did not fly to Tamworth after waking up feeling ill on Sunday – has tested negative for coronavirus and is expected to join the team in NSW as soon as possible.

As the Warriors settle in for their stay in Tamworth, the Storm are packing their bags.

Melbourne and the NRL expect to be given the green light from the NSW government on Tuesday afternoon, allowing them to set up a training base over the NSW border as soon as tomorrow.

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