The New Zealand Warriors are expected to return to Tamworth and use Scully Park as a month-long preseason training base, the Leader can exclusively reveal.
The Warriors were 95 per cent locked in for Tamworth from January 3 to February 4 - with a final decision coming next week, said Rod Laing, chief executive of Scully Park operator the Wests Entertainment Group.
Laing said he had been in long-term discussions with the Warriors regarding the training camp.
He said the Warriors' Australia-based players would have to self-isolate for 14 days if they returned to New Zealand for preseason training, but that did not apply to players entering NSW from New Zealand.
Holding the camp in Tamworth, he continued, "means they all get together and train for a month".
The Warriors established a strong bond with Tamworth when they quarantined in the city in May because of COVID-19 - even getting the city's postcode embroidered on their jerseys.
Laing said Wests Tigers, who play the Sharks at Scully Park on August 21, would train at the celebrated venue for "about a week" in February. The Tigers held a week-long training camp in Tamworth in December 2019.
Tamworth Regional Council Deputy Mayor Phil Betts said the city potentially hosting the Warriors was "absolutely great news" and was a chance to "really cement" the bond between the destination and the club.
"And the economic benefit for the broader community is enormous," he added.
Betts said Tamworth "has proven that it has the facilities and the capability to host major teams for an extended period".
The big difference between the Warriors' May stay in Tamworth and the January camp would be the team's ability to mingle with locals this time around. That did not occur in May because of COVID restrictions.
The Leader contacted the Warriors for comment, but was yet to receive a reply.