Warriors’ country music vow while in Tamworth
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney will introduce his players to Lee Kernaghan.
Or maybe Troy Cassar-Daley.
Well, he isn't sure about that.
"But once the boys start lifting weights we'll put the country music on," Kearney insisted from quarantine. "I'm not too sure how long it will last but, yes, we'll be putting some Tamworth specials on."
Roughly 24 hours after touching down in Australia's country music capital, Warriors coach Kearney has opened up on what for the next 13 days will be life in lockdown for his travelling team of NRL saviours.
A bizarre, and incredibly sterilised, overhaul that started Monday morning when all 48 players and staff sat for breakfast inside the dining area of Wests Tamworth Leagues Club - each player at their own table placed 1.5m from the next one.
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Asked by The Daily Telegraph how such an eating experience feels, Kearney replied: "Odd.
"You can't say pass the salt and pepper.
"But the last six weeks have been odd for us.
"After returning home (when the NRL was initially suspended), we were locked down for four weeks in a self-isolation process where you couldn't leave the house.
"I had to get someone to deliver my groceries.
"But hopefully over time those dining tables might only be a metre apart.
"Then in a month we might even be sitting next to each other having breakfast."
Apart from the separated tables, and overhauled gym playlist, Kearney also admitted to understanding the challenges that lay ahead when watching his players saying goodbye to wives, partners, children and family at Auckland airport.
"I could see it was a real challenge for them," he said.
The coach also suggested that while the biosecurity measures required for entering Australia were "torrid", both the NSW and Federal governments deserved praise for allowing his franchise in, with added exemptions to train immediately.
"So I know you won't see a great deal of us behind the black fence," Kearney said, referencing a large, makeshift perimeter which has been erected around the leagues club precinct and $2 million Scully Park.
"But we're very grateful."
Elsewhere, the coach revealed hooker Nathaniel Roache had already been tested for COVID-19, and cleared, after waking Sunday morning with a sore throat and failing to travel with the team.
Winger David Fusitu'a also remains in Auckland for personal reason, with Kearney expecting to know more on when the pair can travel across the ditch by the end of this week.
"And they may have to be locked down in a hotel room, to self isolate" the coach said. "That is worst case scenario which we have made them aware of."
Regardless, the Warriors remain rugby league's feel good story for 2020.
With this hardy band of Kiwis having won over NRL fans with their willingness to leave wives, children, partners, even just the comforts of home for who knows how long - and all to save The Greatest Game of All.
Yet when asked how long said vibes would remain within Camp Warrior, Kearney replied: "I don't reckon the players will be thinking about it Tuesday when they're running".
So not long?
"We will move on from that pretty quickly," he said. "The reality of this competition is that you have to deliver.
"It's the toughest competition in the world and we have to prepare for that.
"That's our mindset."
Originally published as Warriors' country music vow while in Tamworth