Vodafone Warriors chief executive Cameron George says David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa have been booked to fly home to Aotearoa on July 27 to be reunited with their whānau as soon as possible.
The players had originally committed to staying in Australia until this Sunday’s NRL match against the Cronulla Sharks unless the NRL succeeded in its efforts to secure travel exemptions for their families to enter Australia.
Due to the unavailability of flights back to Aotearoa, the four players will now remain with their team for another week until after the encounter with the Sydney Roosters on Saturday, July 25.
George says Fusitu’a, Maumalo, Paasi and Vuniyayawa had the total support of the players, staff and the club. The same applied for prop Leivaha Pulu who returned home two weeks ago.
“We can’t say enough about the sacrifice they have made being away from their families so long,” George says.
“We fully understand the predicament they have been in and we’re so appreciative of what they have done in committing to the cause for as long as they have. When we travelled to Australia we promised the players everything possible in our control would be done to secure travel exemptions for their families to join them there. Ultimately the decision lies with government agencies to approve the applications the NRL made on our behalf. There hasn’t been any sign of a favourable result, which we accepted was always a possibility. Given those circumstances, David, Ken, Agantius and King are free to go home."
On arriving home, the players will go into isolation for 14 days before they can finally see their families next month.