Homesick Warriors missing whānau

By Te Ao - Māori News
Interim Warriors coach Todd Payten at Friday night's press conference in Melbourne after the team's 50-6 loss to the Storm.  Photo/Sky

Thumped by the Storm in Melbourne last night, reports have emerged that some Warriors players are homesick and would like to return to their families in New Zealand.  Warriors coach Todd Payten says the club is meeting with the NRL today to discuss the issue.

“I think the thing that’s getting them at the moment is the uncertainty around the families and are they coming over,"  Interim Warriors coach Todd Payten, in charge of his first game after Stephen Kearney's sacking, told media Friday night following the team's 50-6 thrashing.

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

Payten said he was hopeful the matter could be sorted out in discussions with NRL representatives.

"We’re actually having a meeting tomorrow (Saturday) with a couple of big dogs at the NRL, getting some clarity around that. That’s where things are at the moment. So we’ll know more tomorrow.”

He said homesickness was not an excuse for such poor performances, including last week's 40-12 loss to the Rabbitohs.

“Everyone misses their family but that’s still not a good enough reason to perform like the way we’re performing. That should be the reason why we actually pull our finger out and fight our butt off is to do our families justice, for all the people back home, and we’re a million miles away.”

Payten accepted that if the meeting with the NRL did not go well players may choose to go home.

“It’s a possibility that may happen, I’m not going to stand in their way. I don’t think any of us would stand in their way but we’ll cross that when it happens.”     

The Warriors are currently based in Australia because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on trans-Tasman travel.