Seven weeks since arriving in Australia indefinitely, the Warriors are running thin on reserves as their stocks took another hit in their 40-12 loss to South Sydney on Friday.
Despite news NRL clubs will be free to return to their home grounds from round eight, the Warriors are the lone team without the same certainty due to coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions in New Zealand.
It comes as three fresh injury concerns emerged against Souths with Lachlan Burr and David Fusitu’a both failing HIAs, while rising young forward Eli Katoa suffered a high ankle sprain.
Hooker Wayde Egan could also be in danger after replays showed his hands in Latrell Mitchell’s face, suggesting an eye gouge, in a tackle in the 65th minute.
Coach Stephen Kearney revealed he is struggling to field 13-on-13 training sessions within their bubble in Gosford and there is no clarity over when they might be free to return home.
Kearney said Fusitu’a was not well after being caught high in a tackle from Mitchell late in the first half that went unpunished.
He said Burr is also in a bad way in his second game back from a few head knocks at training.
Although he refused to offer the injuries as an excuse, Kearney said his squad health is stretched.
“Including Po [Faamausili] who’s our loan player, bare minimum,” he said.
“We’re lucky to get 13 on 13 when we’re doing our opposed sessions but again, looking around the competition, I think that’s a big part of the competition at the moment.
“There are a number of injuries popping up, that wasn’t the issue tonight.
“We lost two to HIA for the game, our young fella come off who’s been playing 80 minutes for us but that doesn’t make you miss 43 tackles.”
It’s been almost two months for some players without their families who remain in New Zealand if they do not have Australian passports.
Kearney said it is an emotional time for those players who are missing home and he’s hopeful of hearing positive news for families to join them on the Central Coast.
“We’re really hopeful,” he said.
“We’ve got guys in the group who’ve got families with young kids, we’re really hopeful they’re coming out of a very clean bubble in New Zealand and hopefully allowed to join our bubble which is very clean also, we’ve been in lockdown in Terrigal.
“Hopefully the Federal Government or powers that be give the opportunity for families with young kids to be able to join us.
“We’re very hopeful that may happen in the near future, it’s a challenge.”