Raiders … Warriors lure Canberra and other NRL clubs across the trench. Photos / Photosport
The Warriors have made plans to flood New Zealand with their NRL game by 2022, and several Australian clubs are supporting the move.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George plans to buy home games from their NRL opponents and play them across the country.
The club is stranded in Australia for a second season due to a Covid-19 travel ban. Their 2021 campaign will not return to the Mt Smart Stadium as early as 21 June, having played all of their matches in Australia in 2020.
They will seek compensation from the NRL but be proactive about starting the game here in 2022, planning to spend more than $ 2.5 million on home game rights from opponents.
George pointed out to the Herald-Sun that several opponents were willing to play football, and he has contacted investors to support the scheme. The NRL club is reported to be making around $ 250,000 per home game.
“I have started discussing with certain NRL clubs whether they will consider selling us their home games to come to New Zealand next year,” he said.
“I’m trying to build a portfolio of games to play in New Zealand next year and get as much as we can to play there.
“For example, instead of playing the likes of Raiders in Canberra, I would buy the game from them and take them to Wellington or Christchurch.
“We are playing 10 home games next year, plus the Magic Round in Brisbane. I want to buy as many away games as possible from clubs based in Australia and play at least 16 NRL games here. We will like up to 20 games.”
He also asked the NRL to schedule as many matches as possible at the prime kickoff venue at 8pm Friday.
“(It) gave the game a really good launch pad – it’s about relaunching the game in New Zealand, not just the Warriors,” said George.
“The way to do that is to play as many games as we can in New Zealand.”
Under the scheme, the NRL will pay for the Australian team’s travels, not the Warriors’ fees.
George said that because the Warriors paid a high price to keep the NRL afloat during the pandemic, rival clubs have shown a willingness to be part of a scheme to “spread the gospel” … at the right price.
The club is down about $ 300,000 per lost home game, and George says that has affected membership.
“We will knock on the door of the NRL at a certain stage,” he said.
“This really has an impact on our financial position in the short, medium and long term.”