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Warriors could fly back to NZ after Storm spanking

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Warriors caretaker Todd Payten concedes players leaving to return home to Auckland is a possibility – and he won’t stand in their way.

Playing their first game since the shock sacking of Stephen Kearney, the Warriors looked like a deflated outfit in Friday’s 50-6 demolition to Melbourne.

Kearney’s sacking prompted speculation some players, who have spent almost two months away from New Zealand, are considering immediately going home.

“There’s a possibility that may happen. I’m not going to stand in their way. I don’t think any of us will stand in their way,” Payten said.

“But we’ll cross that when it happens.”

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in a huddle

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Players and staff will meet with NRL officials on Saturday to address their concerns, chief of which is allowing families to fly over to their base in Gosford.

Players with families based in Australia have been already entered camp, adding to the frustrations of those who are away from relatives.

It is understood the league is trying to work with federal authorities on granting exemptions for players’ families to fly across the Tasman.


“The thing that’s getting them at the moment is the uncertainty around the families and are they coming over,” Payten said.

“Another hard thing is that Australian families, they’re already here, so they can see that around them.

“We’re actually having a meeting tomorrow with a couple of big dogs at the NRL to have some clarity around that. That’s where things are at at the moment.

“So we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Payten said the team’s current displacement, as well as Kearney’s surprise departure, was no reason for their limp effort against the Storm.


“Everyone misses their family, that’s still not a good enough reason to perform the way we’re performing,” Payten said.

“That should be the reason why we’re actually pull our finger out and fight our butt off, is to do our families justice, to all the people back home.”

Payten questioned their commitment following the defeat, and threatened to make changes based on defensive desire.

“I did tell the lads downstairs that the team will be picked on effort and defensive capabilities moving forward,” he said.

“If they’re willing to put themselves in the picture on effort, and fight and scrap, then yeah… I don’t care what they offer us from an attack point of view.”

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith and coach Craig Bellamy both addressed the Warriors players after the game.