Warriors boss Cameron George has confirmed the NRL squad will remain in Australia this week following the new travel restrictions imposed by the New Zealand government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players and staff were scheduled to arrive home this afternoon after last night's opening-round loss to the Newcastle Knights in Newcastle.
They would have returned in time to avoid the compulsory two-week self-isolation period which comes into effect from midnight for all people arriving in New Zealand.
"However, with the travelling restrictions coming into place, returning to New Zealand would effectively remove us from the competition," said George, who is flying back to Auckland today.
"We had extensive meetings with (NRL CEO) Todd Greenberg, the Rugby League Players' Association and our players and staff until late last night to consider all our options.
"There is a lot of take into account, not least the impact on families back home as well as our members, fans, sponsors and other stakeholders.
"Ultimately we have reached a decision for the team to stay in Australia for the coming week. They'll be based on the Gold Coast and will play Canberra next weekend, probably at Cbus Super Stadium.
"The landscape is changing so rapidly, though, and together with the NRL we'll monitor the situation on a daily basis."
George said the club would work through the impact of the decision with sponsors, fans and all other parties the Vodafone Warriors have partnerships with.
The Australian Rugby League Commission met on Saturday night to discuss the developing situation.
There have been suggestions all games could be played at one venue, or possibly three hubs, in Australia.
"It's a challenge but we will get through," said CEO Cameron George, in the press conference following the 20-0 loss to the Knights in Newcastle.
"After the day we have had today, it's another thing we have to get through, led by Stephen [Kearney, Warriors head coach]. We have a great leadership group and what happens will happen."
"We have had unique challenges to deal with in the past and this is another one. But it's onwards and upwards to round two, wherever that will be.
"[There are] so many possibilities. All I know is that the guys are briefed, the partners and wives are briefed and we have to do our best as a club to remain together and take on round two when it comes."
Kearney admitted most of the playing group struggled to initially process the news and agreed it created an unprecedented situation, but also expressed confidence they could get through.
"We need to make sure that we crack on with what's important for us," said Kearney. "If we have to stay here and prepare then that is what we have to do. It's another challenge that we will have to endure and work our way through."
"It's something that obviously hasn't happened before so I'm not quite sure how we navigate our way through it just yet - but I am sure we will find a way."
George said the club was advised just before kickoff (5pm NZT) of the new restrictions.
He immediately emailed the wives, partners and families of the players to inform them of the developments and the implications.
"I reiterated to the partners that this is not the club's preferred position but we have a responsibility to keep things on track. We are also very focused on getting the best outcome for the players and their families [and there are] some players with very young children, just born in recent weeks."
The players were then briefed by George in the dressing room, soon after they came off the field following their 20-0 loss to the Knights.