David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Rugby League: Warriors done with Hurrell

The club have lost patience with the centre, who looks set for a year in reserve grade unless he leaves, writes David Skipwith.
Konrad Hurrell has six weeks to leave if he wants to play NRL again this season. Photo / Photosport
Konrad Hurrell has six weeks to leave if he wants to play NRL again this season. Photo / Photosport

Konrad Hurrell's days at the Warriors appear numbered but the clock is ticking if he is to leave this season, with the June 30 NRL player transfer deadline fast approaching.

The Herald on Sunday understands the already strained relations between Hurrell and the Warriors have almost completely broken down in the wake of the prescription pills and energy drinks saga that engulfed the club recently.

Hurrell is contracted to the Warriors until the end of 2018 and wants to stay in Auckland despite languishing in reserve grade most of the season. He's made four NRL appearances off the bench in games against the Storm, Knights, Roosters and Sea Eagles.

The Warriors are keen to let him go and would consider paying a portion of his wages if another club made a reasonable offer to buy out his big-money contract, believed to be around $500,000 a season.

But time is running out if a deal is to be stitched up this season, with Hurrell needing to secure a new contract before the transfer deadline. Several rival NRL and rugby clubs here and abroad have expressed interest in him but it's not believed an offer is on the table.

Hurrell's future at the Warriors has been under scrutiny all season and he's been linked with a move to the Titans and Manly. Any potential move to the Gold Coast is now under a cloud after they signed hooker Nathan Peats from the Eels midweek and it's unclear if they have any space under the salary cap.

The Warriors appear to have lost patience with Hurrell, who last year turned up to pre-season training out of shape and is no stranger to social media scandals and late-night indiscretions.

In 2014, he was investigated by the Warriors and NRL's integrity unit after a video showing him involved in a sex act appeared on social media. He was later fined $5000 and ordered to undergo counselling.

Last year, he was fortunate to escape punishment after attending a midweek concert in Auckland in between the Warriors suffering consecutive 50-16 thrashings against the Cowboys and Wests Tigers.

The 24-year-old Tongan international is understood to have been unhappy at being punished for his involvement in accompanying five team-mates on an unsanctioned late night out in Auckland.

Hurrell was the only player who did not admit to taking prescription pills and energy drinks but, along with the rest of the group, was stood down from test selection heading into last week's internationals. He was then embroiled in further controversy after sending an ill-timed retweet that added fuel to speculation coach Andrew McFadden has lost the support of his players.

McFadden was frustrated by Hurrell's actions and immediately questioned if Hurrell had a future at the club. Last week, he said he had no issue with Hurrell but that "we need to make decisions that are best for the organisation".

Despite media consistently reporting Hurrell did not admit to any drug taking, his management are eager for the club to clear his name of any wrongdoing and a clean character reference could assist any potential move to another club.

If Hurrell remains at the Warriors, he faces the prospect of playing the rest of the season in reserve grade.

Either scenario looms as sad and unfortunate, with the former Auckland Grammar 1st XV star having failed to reach his undoubted potential since being scouted by the Warriors in 2010.

His natural ability as a powerful ball-carrier makes him a threat to the best defensive sides in the competition, and he also possesses a neat sidestep and ability to create opportunities for his outside men.

But he has struggled for consistency, particularly on defence, and he was also forced to adjust his running style after kneeing incidents involving Cronulla's Anthony Tupou and Manly's Jake Trbojevic.

His footballing development has not been helped by the rotating cast of coaches at the Warriors in recent years, with Hurrell having debuted under Brian McClennan in 2012 before Matthew Elliott took charge in 2013, prior to McFadden's appointment after five rounds the following season.

Warriors fans would be loath to see him depart Mt Smart Stadium, but it appears his future lies beyond the Penrose-based club.

- Herald on Sunday

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