Phoenix remain hopeful of NZ games in 2022

Source: 1News

The Wellington Phoenix are remaining positive about hosting A-League games in New Zealand this season despite the Government's latest call on border restrictions.

The Wellington Phoenix huddle before a match.

The Government confirmed on Wednesday there will be no MIQ for fully-vaccinated Kiwis in Australia from January 17 but foreign nationals won’t be allowed in until “April onwards”.

As such, Kiwi teams in trans-Tasman competitions such as the Phoenix will likely have to base themselves in Australia yet again as Australian sides won't be able to enter New Zealand and a majority of their season playing out before April.

The news is just as grim for the Breakers in the NBL, the Warriors in the NRL and the five Kiwi Super Rugby franchises.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said the announcement didn't address a second challenge Kiwi sporting administrations face.

“There are two barriers to it at the moment. The first is we can’t get Australians in yet, and on the face of it that’s not until May 1, and the second is the seven day [self isolation requirement],” Dome said.

“If you have to do seven days it’s not going to work because you can’t do that in a trans-Tasman competition like ours or Super Rugby, NRL or ANBL.”

But Dome wasn't giving up hope, although he conceded the only logical way he could see sport going ahead in New Zealand was if the Government gave exemptions.

“That’s the only way we’re going to be able to have trans-Tasman sporting competitions resume before May 1.

“Talking to Sport New Zealand, there’s certainly a willingness to look at it and ask ‘how is this going to work?’ because it's not one code, it’s effectively all the major codes in New Zealand that have been effected.”

Wellington Phoenix women's coach Gemma Lewis said she expected her side to play every game of their debut season in Australia but wouldn't give up on a "bonus" of playing in New Zealand too.

“Obviously there’s still a lot to work through from the Wellington Phoenix end to make it happen, and with APL, but the MIQ has only made things more promising for us,” Lewis said.

“With things being slightly more relaxed, if we worked with the Government on us getting over there, there’s potential we could have those opportunities as long as we test negative and everything that comes along with it.”