The New Zealand Warriors have officially been given permission by the Australian Border Force to land in regional NSW tomorrow afternoon.
The club, and its 36 players and staff, will touch down at Tamworth Airport on a private charter around 4.00pm on Sunday.
Tamworth Airport will temporarily be reopened as an international airport for the one flight.
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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed the news in a statement on Saturday.
“This morning the Australian Border Force Commissioner exempted the 36 foreign nationals from travel restrictions, enabling them to travel to Australia,” Mr Dutton said.
“Separate permissions have been provided to enable a chartered aircraft to land at Tamworth Airport on 3 May 2020.”
The NRL has welcomed the decision, which is a huge boost for the sport and its fans.
“This is an excellent outcome for rugby league and another step towards the competition resuming on May 28,” ARL Commission 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 club will follow the strictest biosecurity protocols and, like all clubs, will participate in an education day about the protocols on Monday morning.”
Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club had begun departure preparations ahead of tomorrow’s flight to Australia.
“We have approval for the team to train in isolation over the next two weeks in Tamworth and I know the players and staff are looking forward to being back together as a group for the first time in six weeks,” he said.
“We have never wavered in our commitment to be involved in supporting the resumption of the season. We’re now ready to go and couldn’t be happier about the prospect of being back on the field at the end of the month.”
The NRL has confirmed it plans to restart a 20-round competition on May 28, with the grand final locked in for October 25.
The State of Origin will be played after the grand final.
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) May 2, 2020