Rugby League: Sorry guys, the cheque's not in the mail

SYDNEY - The Warriors are not allowing themselves to be distracted by a pot of gold at the end of the NRL rainbow.

The Warriors happily received a cheque for A$100,000 ($116,000) from the NRL this week for finishing the regular season as minor premiers.

Another cheque, for A$400,000 ($460,000), will be written out for the winners of the grand final, but the Warriors have banished talk about how it might be spent, to avoid placing extra pressure on the team.

Sydney Roosters chief executive Bernie Gurr said if his team won, the prizemoney would be used for general funds, but his Warriors counterpart, Mick Watson, said the issue had not even been raised.

"You build up a big occasion if you do that. You create nerves when you start to talk about what you're going to do if you win," Watson said.

"We're just trying to treat the occasion like another game and we'll go from there. Once we're in a position to know more post-Sunday, then we'll start talking about the decision-making process."

* A second, Wellington-based, New Zealand team could join the NRL in 2005, the Australian newspaper said yesterday.

It said that NRL chief executive David Gallop was not ruling out having a Wellington-based team in the competition, and New Zealand coach Gary Freeman said it was a logical move as the popularity of rugby league continued to rise.

"The South Island and Wellington will probably have a league team further down the track," Freeman said.

Gallop said that when the present agreement with the 15 clubs expired in three years, another team in New Zealand could be a possibility.

"A second side, perhaps based in Wellington, with its excellent stadium, should not be discounted."

- NZPA

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