Australian travel bubble opens door for Kiwi sports teams to return

Australia-based New Zealand sporting teams won't rush home but say confirmation of a travel bubble between the countries allows them to dream of their next game in front of home fans.

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The Warriors and Phoenix are starting to form plans to return to New Zealand, while a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition also looks likely. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government announced today that quarantine-free, trans-Tasman travel will be allowed from April 19.

The NRL's Warriors and A-League's Wellington Phoenix will remain in Australia but plan to host games in NZ later this season, while the bubble is also promising for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament due to begin on May 14.

The Warriors are based in Terrigal on NSW's Central Coast and plan to return to Auckland on June 21, ahead of their first game on July 2.

"It'd be pretty exciting to be honest, a number of us have said that our fans back home, you know deserve to be able to come to a game and watch us play," Warriors star Tohu Harris said.

The Warriors are just four games into the NRL season, and despite looking forward to what he calls the biggest homecoming party at Mt Smart Stadium, CEO Cameron George is tempering excitement.

"I don't want to have the families separated from the players again or going home with them being rushed off back to Australia," George said.

The Wollongong-based Phoenix will remain there for the rest of the A-League season.

While their schedule is set until mid-May, they are hopeful of playing two of their last four games beyond that in New Zealand.

"That's our request to the league that we play those two games and that's Western United and Perth Glory, the only two unscheduled games in the calendar to date and we play them back to back in New Zealand," Phoenix general manager David Dome said.

But, ironically, they would still be away games logistically.

"We now have to book flights, we have to book accommodation, we have to book internal flights we have to get the ticketing on sale, so there's quite a few operational things to take care of now," Dome said.

The Breakers have also shifted between Melbourne and Hobart since December and are set to play home games in Launceston later this month.

They are now hopeful of also playing in New Zealand at the back end of the season.

"It's incredibly exciting for us to have some dates set in stone; it's something we knew was coming for a long time but seems to have taken forever," Breakers veteran Tom Abercrombie said.

"We've been away since early December and feels like we've been absolutely everywhere except home.

"It's extremely exciting; I don't like to get too far ahead of myself but it looks like things are on the up ... to have some certainty now it gives us a little pep in our step."

Rugby Australia will also hope the bubble remains open throughout May and June to ensure their five-week home-and-away tournament against New Zealand's Super Rugby outfits can go ahead.

Both countries are currently playing separate five-team domestic tournaments, with the combined competition to give the code a timely shot of momentum ahead of France's visit and a potential Rugby Championship on home soil later this year.