NRL players have welcomed the news that their partners and children will be able to travel to Queensland on Wednesday to begin a 14-day quarantine period.
The Queensland Government’s approval of the mass relocation of immediate family members of Sydney-based players is a relief to many after previously scheduled flights last Saturday were cancelled.
South Sydney playmaker Benji Marshall is also expected to make the trip on Wednesday but will have to quarantine for two weeks with the families before being able to join his teammates ahead of the round 21 clash with Parramatta.
Souths and NSW hooker Damien Cook said he was looking forward to being re-united with wife Courtney and their 20-month old daughter, Willow.
"It’s obviously awesome news," Cook said.
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"It’s been a long period over the last few weeks, with Origin as well. There has probably only been just over a week where I have got to spend time, especially with my daughter, so I am definitely looking forward to it.
"I really appreciate what the NRL has done to make this happen, and all the girls and families going through the quarantine just so they can be with their players.
"A lot of the boys here will benefit from a mental side of things. They will love having their families here as well."
Penrith captain and fellow Blues star Isaah Yeo said the delay had caused uncertainty for the families and he was looking forward to seeing partner Ash, who is pregnant with their first child.
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"I think we had more relief from the partners and families," Yeo said. "They've been stuck in the middle of no-man's land.
"They were given the green light and then the Queensland Government needed a few more things. I can only speak of my partner but she's been excited after getting a locked-in date. She's looking forward to getting up here."
Marshall remained in Sydney last weekend with wife Zoe and their newborn daughter, Ever J, but he will now depart on Wednesday.
Warriors star Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's wife Purdy is due to give birth in coming weeks and the Kiwis captain said it had been a difficult decision to leave her in Sydney while he flew to the Gold Coast with the team.
"My wife and I had a very long chat and we made a decision," Watene-Zelezniak said. "We drew up a long list of people who are going through the same situation that we’re going through at the moment.
“For us, we looked at the positives, which are that we’re healthy and being healthy at this time, with the things that are going on around the world, is a big blessing.
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"My wife is healthy, baby’s healthy, so are the kids and we’ve got a lot of support.
"As much as I’d love to be there with my wife, I’m lucky to be blessed with a beautiful wife like mine who understands a lot and has been very understanding."
Players and staff from the NRL’s nine Sydney clubs, as well as Newcastle and Canberra, relocated to hubs in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast last Wednesday due to border restrictions.
Their families were due to follow on Saturday, but the move was delayed for the partners and children residing in the Greater Sydney Region, while those in Canberra and Newcastle were allowed to travel.
The families of some Melbourne Storm players joined the team on their flight to Queensland last Thursday night, and other partners and children are expected to join them in the coming weeks.
The NRL’s application to relocate the Sydney-based families to the Gold Coast was approved by the Queensland Government on Monday night.
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Cook admitted it would have been tough if the families had been unable to relocate to Queensland but he said the Warriors had shown the way with the sacrifices they made last year to keep the competition going.
"I guess last year you could never imagine what the Warriors went through so it is very doable and it something that has to be done," Cook said.
"This is our job and it is what we have to do. It is awesome that we have got the families up here but for all the other players we have got to look to the Warriors and what they went through without their families here for a long time.
"It is definitely inspiring and very motivating. We have got to do what we have to do to keep this game going and finish off the season."
The families will travel to the Gold Coast on Wednesday to commence a 14-day quarantine at an NRL-managed family hub in Surfers Paradise before being reunited with players at club hotels.
The Dragons, Sharks and Tigers are sharing a hotel in Brisbane, while the Knights, Panthers, Roosters and Sea Eagles are on the Sunshine Coast and the Bulldogs, Eels, Rabbitohs, Raiders and Warriors are on the Gold Coast.
Families who are based in the three local government areas in Sydney under NSW Public Health orders not to leave will also be permitted to travel to Queensland on Wednesday.