‘Kick your a**’: Club’s email to NRL boss
"THIS will be the greatest story in rugby league when we come to Australia and kick your a**."
Those were the fighting words from Warriors CEO Cameron George in an email to Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys.
The Warriors have a charter plane ready to take off on Sunday, carrying 50 players and staff to Australia where they will be based for many months as they compete in the coronavirus-affected NRL.
They are still awaiting Australia state and federal approval and sign-off from the NRL on some "non-negotiable" requests around player support.
George remains hopeful but the issue of player payments for all clubs remains unresolved and he expects the Rugby League Players Association to play a big part in how that unfolds.
George said the intended NRL restart date was still locked in for May 28. Two rounds have already been played, and there will be 18 more with each team playing each other once, plus five additional games.
George heaped praise on the NRL's planning and ambitious attitude, telling Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking league had been given a massive opportunity as the only sport on TV for a period of time.
"There's no CEO in the world right now running any organisation asking 50 of his employees to relocate to another country without knowing what they will be paid or without family support or when they are coming back," George said.
"I feel like our club is being asked to do something no one in the world is doing anywhere. It is a massive sacrifice and we are a family orientated club.
"But how good … I signed off on an email to Peter V'landys the other day said this will be the greatest story in rugby league when we come to Australia and kick your a**.
"I feel like this has galvanised the mindset of a lot of people in our club. It's different and maybe that's what we need. For 25 years the normal approach hasn't been great success for us.
"I was saying to (coach) Steve Kearney, and our playing group, take this opportunity, seize it, and do something no one thinks we can do. Let's go with the best attitude.
"I've got to give credit to our players. Their mindset through all of this has been all about our club, fans and getting a result."
George said there had been a massive amount of paperwork to deal with.
He had held a non-negotiable position on support for players' families in New Zealand, asking the NRL to come to the party financially. For instance, some partners might need child-minding help to safeguard their own employment.
There were so many issues to deal with, including the consequences travelling with the team would have on medical staff with outside practices.
The initial flight will carry 30 players and 18 staff to Australia. Family members were not included, because this would have made getting approval much tougher.