New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George said he will ask the New Zealand government and NRL for financial support as the rugby league club face an uncertain future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NRL suspended its season indefinitely on Monday amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed over 16,500 people globally.

Australia's rugby league competition had initially attempted to continue playing behind closed doors, with New Zealand-based side the Warriors staying in Australia.

But stricter travel measures across Australia forced the NRL to postpone the 2020 campaign, and George has pleaded for additional assistance to keep the Warriors viable.

"We've always had our challenges given our environment, our landscape, rugby union's strength here, but this is unprecedented for us," George told

"If sponsors walk away, members walk away, we're in the hole for millions and millions of dollars like every other club. But when you don't have that avid rugby league landscape around you, it's harder to pull it back.

"We can't sit around for months without playing. The challenge we have as opposed to others, I can tell you pretty sensibly that we're not going to have teams travelling to New Zealand this year.

"We'd lose all our home games. The international travel and border restrictions is something only we face. It will hammer us. It's hammering us now."

On whether the Warriors may need more assistance than their NRL rivals, George added: "Hopefully they look upon us a little bit differently, especially after the last couple of weeks. We'd hope for a little bit more to keep us going but who knows."

The Warriors stayed in New South Wales for almost two weeks as the NRL tried to keep its season alive, but the team are now en route back to New Zealand, where they are set to embark on 14 days of self-isolation.

"I don't have regrets. When I look back on how we handled it, it was important for me at all stages that I allowed the players to have ample time to discuss the options with their families," George told reporters on Tuesday.

"Everyone was armed with the right information to make the right decision. They always had our support, whichever way they went.

"When they decided to stay all-in and continue in the competition, I felt that was extremely courageous. I felt it was really sensible from their part and I felt that at all times, the players were putting the club and the fans first, with support from their families."

Defending NRL champions Sydney Roosters succumbed to a second straight defeat to start the season as Daly Cherry-Evans' late drop-goal gave Manly Sea Eagles a 9-8 win.

Cherry-Evans split the uprights with a one-pointer in the 76th minute to settle a tight encounter played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier, Tom Trbojevic and Daniel Tupou traded tries and Reuben Garrick and Kyle Flanagan a pair of penalties each before Cherry-Evans landed the decisive blow.

Melbourne Storm staged a late fightback to see off Cronulla Sharks 12-10 in a rematch of the 2016 Grand Final.

The Sharks led 10-4 going into the final 10 minutes. However, Cameron Smith converted Tui Kamikamica's try to level the scores and the veteran hooker slotted over a penalty four minutes from time to make it two wins from two for The Storm.

Canberra Raiders also have a 100 per cent record through two games after easing past New Zealand Warriors 20-6.

The coronavirus pandemic is still raising questions across sport, even with the global calendar decimated by cancelled and postponed events.

Coronavirus has, according to official figures, caused around 6,500 deaths from approximately 170,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

As the pandemic continues, there are going to be some big decisions made in the world of sport over the coming week, with UEFA's 55 members set to come together – via video conference – on Tuesday.

The fate of this season's Champions League and Europa League will be up for debate, while Euro 2020 is also to be discussed.

Here is a look at the latest developments:


Ahead of Tuesday's meeting with UEFA, Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina confirmed he will call for Euro 2020 to be postponed, in the hope that might allow the Serie A season to be finished in June.

This proposal will likely be backed by LaLiga boss Javier Tebas, who is convinced the top-flight season in Spain will be completed. Swiss FA president Dominique Blanc, meanwhile, has confirmed he has coronavirus.

It is not yet clear what will happen in the Premier League, with the teams set to reconvene for another meeting on Thursday and, after coming under criticism for stating that the season should be considered "null and void", West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady defended her comments.

"The Premier League and EFL are doing all we can to ensure the season is finished. Including suspending games, isolating players, and if required playing games behind closed doors and into the summer months," she wrote on Twitter.

"My point was safety of fans, players, staff come first and if the remaining games just cannot be played the only fair and reasonable thing is to declare [the] season null and void."

In a newspaper column, Wayne Rooney backed the decision to postpone fixtures in England, but criticised the Premier League and EFL for taking so long to make the call.

More players have confirmed they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to be named as having the illness, with the club adding four more members of the first-team playing and coaching staff had also tested positive.

Valencia's former Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala confirmed later on Sunday that he was one of those with the virus.

In Serie A, Sampdoria's Omar Colley posted a video to his official Instagram account in which he refuted his club's claim that he too had received a positive test result.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's Paul Pogba joined the raft of sports stars pledging to support people during the crisis, as he launched a fundraiser to mark his 27th birthday.

In France, Paris Saint-Germain announced they had extended the suspension of all club operations until March 18.

In the United States, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert – the first NBA player to be diagnosed with coronavirus – provided a positive update on his recovery, while also stating: "I wish I would have took this thing more seriously and I hope everyone else will do so because we can do it together."

Not all sport has been postponed just yet, with rugby league in both Britain and Australia continuing for now.

In Super League, Castleford Tigers ran out winners over defending champions St Helens, though in the National Rugby League (NRL), Melbourne Storm's Cameron Smith called for the competition to be suspended.

Round two is set to go ahead next week, albeit behind closed doors, while New Zealand Warriors have elected to remain in Australia rather than return to Auckland, where they would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The NRL will continue despite increased travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, with New Zealand Warriors to remain in Australia.

On Sunday, the league confirmed round two will proceed next week but behind closed doors as the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts sport across the globe.

The Warriors – who lost their season opener away to Newcastle Knights on Saturday – will stay in Australia after New Zealand imposed strict travel conditions, which will be introduced at midnight on Sunday (local time) – a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for those entering the country.

While the NRL will forge ahead with the season, it conceded cancelling the competition remains a possibility if the Australian government increases sanctions.

"It's one of the toughest challenges for us to stay viable in the history of the game," Australian Rugby League (ARL) Commission chairman Peter V'landys said. "This can change by the hour. All decisions we will make will have the safety and health of our players as paramount.

"We are going to review all options including isolating players or suspending the season. We've commissioned a pandemic expert and we are going to act on their advice. The paramount consideration is the players' safety."

V'landys, who urged the federal government to offer financial support to the NRL, added: "At this stage we will continue to round two and give us the chance to work with our biosecurity and pandemic staff. It could have catastrophic results on us.

"We want to have the best available, that's why we've done this. If someone goes down we need to reassess. There's never been more financial pressure on this game than ever. We have funds but those funds will run out quickly."

The Warriors will base themselves in Kingscliff on the NSW-Queensland border, playing their round-two match against Canberra Raiders on the Gold Coast, rather than in Auckland on Saturday as originally scheduled.

While the Warriors flew to the Gold Coast from Sydney on Sunday, Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku returned home to be with their families.

"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," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

"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."

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg added: "The Warriors deserve a lot of credit, for the greater good of the competition they understand their obligations. If that means bringing families across we'll assess that."

Defending NRL premiers Sydney Roosters let an early lead slip to lose their 2020 opener against Penrith Panthers on Saturday.

Penrith produced a fine second-half performance to beat the Roosters 20-14, with Viliame Kikau - battling a shoulder injury - and Api Koroisau particularly impressive.

Sydney - premiers in 2018 and 2019 - had breezed into a 12-0 lead inside 20 minutes, with tries from Mitchell Aubusson and Siosiua Taukeiaho and a penalty from Kyle Flanagan, but Brent Naden went over after 26 minutes to begin the Panthers' fightback.

Stephen Crichton's try helped level the scores at 14-14 with 16 minutes left on the clock, and Nathan Cleary - whose exemplary kicking bolstered Penrith throughout - provided the pass from which Kikau scored a 69th-minute winner.

Elsewhere, Newcastle Knights made a winning start to the season under new coach Adam O'Brien, whose side beat New Zealand Warriors 20-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

O'Brien's positive impact on the Knights defence was in evidence throughout a one-sided encounter that saw Daniel Saifiti open the scoring with an eighth-minute try that Kalyn Ponga converted before Edrick Lee went over to make it 10-0 at the interval.

Ponga scored all of the Knights' second-half points, kicking two penalties in six minutes before landing a 54th-minute try that he converted himself to give his side an unassailable lead.

South Sydney Rabbitohs had to scrap harder for their first win of the new campaign at ANZ Stadium, where captain Adam Reynolds' kicking made the difference in a 22-18 victory over Cronulla Sharks.

After the Rabbitohs opened up a 22-8 lead with 20 minutes left to play, courtesy of first-half tries from Reynolds and Campbell Graham along with a pair of Reynolds penalties and Ethan Lowe's second-half score, the Sharks launched a late fightback.

Sione Katoa went over twice in three minutes to narrow the deficit to four points, before Connor Tracey looked to have sent Josh Morris through for a try.

But Tracey's pass was ruled forward to the relief of Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, whose side took the points.

Warrington Wolves have announced Ben Murdoch-Masila will leave the club at the end of the 2020 season to return to the NRL with New Zealand Warriors.

The Tonga international joined the Wire in 2018 and has since made 60 appearances, scoring 19 tries and helping the club win the Challenge Cup in 2019.

Murdoch-Masila expressed his gratitude to the Super League side for their support but said the opportunity to take his family back to the Southern Hemisphere was too good to pass up.

He previously played for Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers before initially moving to England with Salford Red Devils.

"I will definitely miss the boys," the 29-year-old forward told Warrington's official website. "I will miss the fans, too, and the atmosphere they create for us; it is unreal, the passion they share with us in the good and bad times.

"I've always left the door open for the opportunity of an NRL comeback, though. My daughter has spent her life here and all she knows is the Wire. When this opportunity came around, I couldn't say no to taking her home.

"I want to thank all at the club for what they have done for not only me but for my wife and daughter, too. I will do whatever it takes to help repay what the Wire has done for me and do my best for the remainder of the year."

Head coach Steve Price added: "Ben and I have been in regular dialogue with regards to the attention he has had from back home.

"We felt we put a good offer as a club to Ben, but he felt it was time to go back to be closer to his family, which I fully understand."

The New Zealand Warriors and Auckland Blues have jointly announced their respective rugby codes will host a NRL and Super Rugby doubleheader in March next year.

The back-to-back games at Eden Park are believed to be a world first with Auckland’s NRL and Super Rugby teams hosting their Canberra-based counterparts for an event known as the "codes of Auckland."

Rugby League’s Warriors will host NRL grand finalists Canberra Raiders at 5pm local time before Union’s Blues will take on the two-time Super Rugby champions ACT Brumbies at 7:35pm.

The New Zealand-based duo trialled a single-ticket promotion in 2019 for games hosted on the same weekend and months of discussions have allowed the codes to unite for a blockbuster event.

"We have much in common as professional teams in international competition and we know that we have fans that follow both clubs," Warriors CEO Cameron George and Blues chairman Don Mackinnon said in a joint statement.

"Both clubs have worked together in recent years when the opportunity has arisen, and we have been trying to make this idea work for a couple of years.

"With both clubs playing Canberra teams on the same weekend, it was the perfect chance to give it a go. It's exciting and innovative and gives the Warriors and the Blues the unique opportunity to celebrate some of the best sporting entertainment that Auckland has to offer."

The event will be held on March 21 in round eight of the Super Rugby competition and round two of the NRL season.

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