The Warriors have officially been given approval to enter Australia just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison poured cold water on the plan.
The Warriors have officially been given approval to enter Australia just hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison poured cold water on the plan.

Warriors cleared after ScoMo backflip

The New Zealand Warriors have officially been given approval to enter Australia and begin training for the re-start of the 2020 NRL season.

It was announced on Saturday morning the Kiwi club has been given special approval to fly into Tamworth, NSW, and begin two weeks of self-isolation. The club has also won approval to continue training during the two-week period of isolation.

The Australian Border Force approved the special clearance under the strict terms which will see Tamworth Airport transformed into an international airport solely for the purpose of allowing the Warriors to enter the country.

The development has the NRL back on track to pull-off its bold push to re-start the season on May 28.

The Warriors will fly into Australia on Sunday afternoon.

"This is an excellent outcome for rugby league and another step towards the competition resuming on May 28," Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V'landys said in a statement.

"I want to thank the Federal and State Governments, in particular, Border Force and NSW State Emergency Operation Centre for their assistance in making the Warriors' arrival a reality."

The seismic change of heart comes just 24 hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday poured cold water on earlier reports the Warriors would be travelling to Australia on Sunday.

 

Warriors are on their way.
Warriors are on their way.

"The National Cabinet has not provided that endorsement," Mr Morrison said.

"The individual jurisdictions will ultimately provide any of the clearances that are necessary on a health basis ... in relation to the border issues with NZ, well that authority has not been provided.

"No amount of reporting it will change those restrictions."

As of Friday evening Australian Border Force authorities had yet to give the green light for the Warriors to arrive while the NSW state government had not confirmed they could train while quarantined.

But league officials still remained confident those exemptions will be secured in time for the Warriors to be in the country by next week.

"The Warriors will be on the plane," V'landys said.

"I clarified all those matters. I'll have it in writing to them once I get all the border security and state government approvals.

"The Warriors just wanted clarity on a few things and now they have got that they are fully supportive."

On Monday the biosecurity guidelines will be explained to all NRL players, and providing they are satisfied a return to training will be confirmed. The Warriors players, like their NRL rivals, will receive 80 per cent of their original annual salary for the duration of the season.

Families of Warriors players will remain in New Zealand for now, although the league is hopeful border restrictions will eventually ease.

A federal government framework for the return of sport announced on Friday also kept the NRL's hopes for a return alive, providing it can convince state governments it will adhere to health guidelines.

- with AAP

Originally published as Warriors cleared after ScoMo backflip



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