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Payten confirms four Warriors to return home

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10th July, 2020
26

It will put his battling NRL team under more pressure but interim Warriors coach Todd Payten knows he cannot prevent a quartet of players from heading home to New Zealand.

Wingers David Fusitu’a and Ken Maumalo as well as forwards Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa are all set to leave the Warriors’ Australian camp following next weekend’s match against Cronulla in Gosford.

The four will return home after the NRL was unsuccessful at arranging travel exemptions for their families to join them in Australia.

Having relocated from New Zealand in May, Payten said there was no way he could stop the players from returning to their families.

“I’ve given them my word if we don’t have a clear outcome from the government or the NRL then they can go home,” Payten said following Friday’s 16-12 loss to Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium.

“It’ll put pressure on us but at the end of the day, for the reasons they need to go back, they have to go back.

“I asked them to commit until after the Sharks game and they’ve given me that commitment.”

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Payten praised his team’s response to their ongoing situation and said the deepening COVID-19 crisis in Victoria meant they had to accept the team will not be returning to New Zealand as a whole any time soon.

“With everything that’s happened in Victoria and more outbreaks, we’re not going home so I think we’ve got our heads around it,” he said.

“I can see us coming out the other side a better team for everything that’s happened in the last 12 weeks.”

Whether that other side will include Payten, who has stepped into the head coach’s position after Stephen Kearney’s sacking last month, remains uncertain.

“The club has been clear that they’re going to the open market,” he said.

“I have an ambition to be a head coach, that’s not going away.

“Whether it’s here or somewhere else, my time will come.”

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