Auckland schoolboy sensation Etene Nanai may not be rugby league and Warriors-bound after all.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that the Warriors had the 17-year-old St Kentigern outside back contracted until the end of 2019.
But though he trained with the Warriors in the off-season, the New Zealand Herald understands that his heart is with rugby and that strong interest shown from the Chiefs and New Zealand sevens powerbrokers is causing a rethink on his future.
Further muddying the waters for the Warriors is that any contract signed by a minor (anybody under 18), as per the Minors' Contract Act, is legally unenforceable.
In other words, if Nanai chose to remain in rugby after his First XV season is over, there is little the Warriors can do.
Nanai turns 18 in August, just when the elite Auckland schools competition is drawing to a close. He has provided a cutting edge to the St Kentigern backline since his 2014 First XV debut but he came to wider prominence with a YouTube compilation of his individual highlights went viral this week, featuring him in pre-season action with his schools side.
The Auckland schools competition kicks off tomorrow, but Nanai will not be in action as St Kentigern's clash with Mt Albert Grammar School has been deferred until July 8 due to the latter school still being in Japan competing in the Sanix tournament, the unofficial schools world championships.
Nanai is not the first First XV player to be in the Warriors' juniors ranks.
Last season, for example, Auckland Grammar halfback Melino Fineanganofo played the odd game for the Warriors under 20s along with his First XV duties. MAGS flanker-cum-second five Isaiah Papali'i was a schoolboy standout last season and has already featured in NRL first grade with the Warriors in 2017.
Nanai will play only for his First XV until their commitments are done for 2017.
The Chiefs have already shown interest in Nanai and invited him to their Under 18 camp last July. Earlier this week, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie acknowledged he was well aware of Nanai, pointing out he is a cousin of skilful midfield back Tim Nanai-Williams.
The New Zealand Sevens are also keen to see how Nanai develops.
He could possibly follow the footsteps of Vilimoni Koroi, who went from playing for Feilding HS at the Condor Sevens to the New Zealand ranks in a matter of weeks late last year.
Warriors' development manager Tony Iro was unaware of Nanai's rugby ambitions saying: "All I know is he's contracted with us. He hasn't expressed to us personally that he wants to play union so that's where it is at the moment."