Warriors NRL squad near fully vaxxed

Warriors NRL squad near fully vaxxed

Warriors coach Nathan Brown is hopeful that his entire squad will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 come the start of the 2022 NRL season.

The club, who have begun their third year away from their Auckland base, are planning on playing the start of their season in Redcliffe, before returning to New Zealand for a round 15 homecoming against Penrith.

Under plans announced by the New Zealand government last week, travellers can skip a two-week quarantine period if they are fully vaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy among the Warriors squad could also limit their ability to travel to and play in Queensland and Victoria, with both states demanding athletes be fully vaccinated to play in stadiums.

“We're in a pretty strong spot. I couldn't give you an exact update but I've not got too many concerns,” Brown said.

“From my understanding there's one or two that may not have had it but they are going to have it, so there's not too much for us to worry about.”

A News Corp report recently claimed that one Warriors player had been hesitant to receive the vaccine.

The Warriors have been tight lipped on who that player is, however, prop Addin Fonua-Blake initially refused to take the flu shot in 2020 when at Manly.

Asked whether Fonua-Blake was the player in question, Brown said: “Addin's fine, Addin's OK, he's all good.”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said On Tuesday the league was in a healthy position.

“Pleasingly we are down to an incredibly small number of players who are not yet vaccinated,” he said.

“Hopefully that will be in single figures soon.”

“I am confident that between now and (the NRL and NRLW starting) we will have a very small group of players unvaccinated, if any at all.”

Meanwhile, Brown said playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita remained part of the club's long-term plans despite the signing of Shaun Johnson, and Luke Metcalf joining the Warriors in 2023.

Former Titans halfback Ash Taylor and Kiwi Test playmaker Kodi Nikorima are also at the club.

Harris-Tavita, who has played 37 games since debuting in 2019, is off contract and has received an offer of a renewed three-year deal which he has yet to agree to.

“Chanel is a young emerging player who spent much of last year injured unfortunately, but when you're playing with other young halves it's particularly hard to learn your trade,” Brown said.

“I'd like to think Shaun could have a good impact on Chanel.

“With (fullback) Reece Walsh being so young we needed some experience this year.

“Chanel knows we have a good opinion of him as a player.

“There's a number of positions he can play, whether it's half, five-eighth or at dummy half.

“He's got a great attitude and he's a player we'd like to have at the club.”

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