NZ govt looking into Warriors player saga

NZ's Prime Minister says the case of the two NRL Warriors players stuck in Australia underlines the complexity of travel in the COVID-19 age.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her government is looking to resolve the case of the two Warriors NRL players who can't return home.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George revealed on Wednesday that Pacific-born pair Eliesa Katoa and Selestino Ravutaumada are blocked from returning to New Zealand indefinitely because they aren't Kiwi citizens.

The situation has left the club devastated, George said, with the 20-year-olds both New Zealand visa holders but still bound to stay in Australia unless an exemption can be made.

Adern said the situation was being addressed when questioned by reporters on Thursday.

"From what I've been briefed on, that's a matter that's still looking to be resolved," she said.

"But I think it just demonstrates the complexity of issues at our border.

"Of course, citizens, permanent residents are able to come straight through. Those who are on visas, but there are economic reasons for them being here, that takes a bit more of a process.

"I understand that's a case still being worked through."

The NRL's head of government relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder has been negotiating with the NZ government over the issue.

It continues a hefty involvement with the Warriors for Boland-Rudder, who helped organise their entry into Australia four months ago.

He has also toiled fruitlessly to organise a passage for Kiwi family members to join the players at their Central Coast base.

The situation has sparked recollections of the last time a young New Zealand sports star wasn't granted permission to return from Australia - resulting in Viliame Ofahengaue launching his career as a World Cup-winning Wallaby.

Tongan-born Ofahengaue was representing the New Zealand schools rugby team in 1988 when Kiwi border officials wouldn't grant a passage back, for reasons the then-teenager couldn't understand.

Forced to settle in Australia, three years later "Willie-O" was a powerful force in the back row of a Wallabies team who triumphed at the World Cup. He finished with 41 Test caps over nine seasons.