Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Warriors won't play in World Club Series

Warriors utility back David Fusitu'a. Photo / www.photosport.nz
Warriors utility back David Fusitu'a. Photo / www.photosport.nz

The Warriors won't be a late addition to the 2017 World Club Series in England.

There are major questions over next year's edition of the annual tournament, with six of the top eight NRL clubs turning down the opportunity to participate, despite around A$400,000 ($428,000) available for each participating team.

Cronulla are locked in to face the Super League champions Wigan on the weekend of Feburary 16-17, but organisers have yet to find another NRL teams to face Challenge Cup winners Warrington.

Melbourne Storm confirmed last Monday they would not be making the trip to the northern hemisphere.

"As a club, we've decided that staying in Australia will provide our team with the best possible preparation for the 2017 NRL season," said Storm CEO Dave Donaghy. "We have committed to playing two trial matches in Australia which we believe will serve as a better lead-in for the team ahead of next year's opening round."

Australian reports have also indicated that the Cowboys, Raiders, Panthers and Bulldogs and Titans have also declined the opportunity to take part in the series, which was expanded from a one game format in 2015.

The Broncos, who have played in the last two WCS competitions, remain supportive of the concept and the Dragons have also indicated they would consider taking up an invitation.

But Warriors CEO Jim Doyle confirmed to the New Zealand Herald on Wednesday that the Auckland club would not be participating in the event.

For the Warriors, it would appear to be a no brainer. The club has identified a solid start to the NRL season as the critical success factor for next year, and travelling across the world to play a game in the middle of the English winter may compromise that.

There's no reason why they wouldn't go in the future, but only when the squad has some solid seasons behind them.

The Mt Smart club is also committed to the NRL Nines, as the host club, and success in that tournament is important for on and off field reasons.

It is not feasible to have strong teams at both events (the Cowboys last year split their squad to tackle both formats).

The Nines also carry the appeal of A$500,000 ($535,000) prizemoney for the winning team.

- NZ Herald

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