THE NRL, NZ Warriors and Wests Tamworth Leagues Club were all sweating on Australian Border Force approval for a bold quarantine plan on Friday night.
The Warriors - led by former Wests Lions halfback Cameron George - were waiting for the final tick of approval with Scully Park the only option to restart the NRL season.
The Prime Minister slapped down false reports on Friday that the league and the Warriors had been given approval to fly direct to the city.
Tamworth Regional Airport received notification of a planned charter flight from Auckland on Friday. It's expected Border Force staff will travel from Newcastle to manage immigration procedures, if the plan is approved.
Amidst the border control drama, the transformation of Wests' Leagues Club into Warriors' training headquarters is in full swing.
Scully Park was an obvious choice, Warriors chief executive Cameron George told the Leader.
Mr George is no stranger to the city, after previously pulling on the Wests Lions' jersey.
"Here we were potentially without a location, so in a short time frame to find a new one to cater for high performance training that usually takes 12 months in the space of three hours, we could not be more appreciative," he said.
"We in no shape or form will be jeopardising any protocols or requirements put upon us to be based in Tamworth."
It was all staff to battle stations on Friday as Wests' awaited a decision.
Club to transform into training camp
The Mercure's event centre will be transformed into a fully-equipped gym with Scully Park Pool used for recovery.
A basketball court will be set up in the carpark by The Pub Group's Craig Power, who played alongside Mr George in the 1999 grand final against Moree.
"My role is to work with Dan Lloyd the football manager to put things in place to make sure the guys are in isolation but having a good time," he said.
"For the community it's a massive opportunity in hard times and everyone has been a bit down wondering what the next step will be - it's a real positive for Tamworth.
"We're happy to organise table tennis, ping pong, darts, Xboxes, anything that will give them some time out."
A strict, handcrafted menu has been provided to the kitchen, which will be open to the players 24-hours-a-day. And, with 100+kg players there's a fair amount of food to be ordered, Wests Entertainment Group chief executive Rod Laing said.
"Our facility is equal to anywhere in the city, it's unique that the playing surface out there is of top-notch standard," he said.
"When the Warriors arrive here their health will be spot-on, and it's our job to ensure when they leave their health will be as it was when they arrived.
"We'll have protocols from staff entry points to temperature checks, logs kept on what staff are in the building.
"We'll have help from Hunter New England Health and from the NRL medical team with the biosecurity measures that are in place for the teams as well."
The team had originally considered training in isolation at Lennox Head, until a text from Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson inviting them to the country music capital changed the game.
The support from the community had been unmatched, Mr George said.
"I texted the chief executive of Wests' Tigers and explained to him how now the people of Tamworth will become NZ Warriors fans," he joked.
"It might spark a bit of a war between the two clubs but it is a bit of banter.
"I hope the people of Tamworth can lay a bit of ownership in the Warriors' season ahead, the town will play a huge part in our season and I don't underestimate that."
Mr George said the club would return to Tamworth to give back to the town before they headed back across the Tasman.
"A lot of the boys have been talking with the leadership googling Tamworth and getting their country music tracks together and they are excited about it."