IT'S TOUCH-AND-GO for the New Zealand Warriors as the NRL team waits on a final decision from the Australian Border Force (ABF). Tamworth is the obvious base should the players and support staff be permitted to train in isolation for 14 days, Warriors chief executive Cameron George told the Leader.
Mr George is no stranger to the city, after previously playing as a halfback for the Wests Lions. And, he wants to return.
"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, I can assure the local community that all of our players will abide by those rules and not threaten the well-being of the great community of Tamworth.
"By virtue of the fact we are quarantined and can't leave, we have a very strict and measured program in the next few weeks."
The ABF is still considering an exemption application from the NRL. The Leader understands a decision could be made on Friday.
The Warriors arrival into Australia by Sunday is key to a May 28th restart, if the group of about 48 players and support staff are to enter the country.
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."
The Warriors would be a great benefit to the city's sporting reputation, Mr Anderson said.
"I spoke to Peter V'landys who is now the CEO of the NRL and Cameron George ... who used to be a former steward out here at the Tamworth Jockey Club.
"I texted him and said, 'Mate, how about Tamworth?' from that - we're close.
"We're not over the line yet with a couple of boxes to be ticked but let's see how we go."