‘Relieved’ Warriors head for Tamworth
Warriors boss Cameron George says his club has been riding a "whirlwind of emotions" after finally receiving the green light to land in Australia this afternoon.
Forty-eight players and staff will arrive in Tamworth on a chartered flight at 4pm Sunday after Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram approved the club's arrival on Saturday morning.
The Sunday Telegraph has obtained the letter Outram sent to interim NRL boss Andrew Abdo.
"I have received advice from the Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth who has confirmed that the 36 foreign nationals do not pose a risk of serious harm to public health in Australia," Outram wrote.
"On the basis of the health risk being low and your confirmation that the NRL will recommence on 28 May, I have decided to exempt the 36 foreign nationals listed in attachment A from the travel restrictions imposed by the Australian Government, thereby enabling them to travel to Australia."
The names on the list include Warriors superstars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tohu Harris and coach Stephen Kearney. Australian passport holders such as Blake Green, Gerard Beale, Adam Keighran Josh Curran, Lachlan Burr and Karl Lawton will also be on the flight. Hooker Wayde Egan and young prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are already in Australia and will join the team in Tamworth taking the Warriors to the list of 50 people the NRL's new biosecurity measures will allow at training.
George said he felt the club was a "long way from departing" on Friday afternoon when Australian prime minister Scott Morrison stated the side had yet to receive clearance to enter the country.
"To get the phone call and the paper work was a relief," George said. "Just finally knowing we were able to go. We were talking about departing in 24 hours and we were still unsure if we could leave.
"It's been a whirlwind 72 hours and that's no fault of the NRL it's just the process we have had to go through."
George spoke with police on Saturday who told him they will conduct spot checks on the Warriors throughout their stay.
The Warriors had booked an Air New Zealand flight but changed plans as the original aircraft was too big and too heavy to land in Tamworth.
The Warriors have been given multiple assurances by the NRL that; families could join them shortly especially if boarders between New Zealand and Australia open and they will receive potential salary cap dispensation if they have to draft any players in as a result of injury or suspension on a "case-by-case" basis.
Tamworth airport will open as an international airport temporarily to allow the New Zealand side to arrive.
The Warriors will then isolate in a "bubble" in Tamworth that will allow them to resume pre-season training on Monday.
The Warriors will spend 14 days in a "fortress" facility that includes the $2 million Scully Park complex.
George confirmed they are close to finalising a move to base the team on the Central Coast after their quarantine.
Originally published as 'Relieved' Warriors head for Tamworth