Kiwis legend Stacey Jones won't be involved in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
New Zealand coach David Kidwell wanted Jones as one of his two assistant coaches, but the Warriors have apparently blocked the move.
Kidwell revealed on Thursday he had been in discussions with Warriors' coach Stephen Kearney for some time about releasing Jones from his club duties for the tournament.
"I reached out to Stephen [Kearney] first [but] he has to do what's best for the Warriors and the club, and I understood that," said Kidwell.
"Over a period, he came to the conclusion that he needs Stacey for the pre-season, and I've moved on."
It's a tricky situation, exacerbated by Steve McNamara's recent departure from these shores to coach the Catalan Dragons in the Super League. The Englishman held assistant role with both the Warriors and the Kiwis, and has left a significant void.
But it's undoubtedly a blow for the Kiwis. Jones has gained some good experience over the last few years, and the 46-test Kiwi would have been a good fit within the camp.
Options will be thin on the ground for Kidwell, with many other assistant coaches within the NRL already involved in various roles with major or minor nations.
However, Kidwell confirmed he expects to name his two assistants within the next fortnight.
"I've sat down and gone through a process with a couple of other coaches - it's just a matter of making up my mind for what's going to be the best fit for me and the Kiwis," said Kidwell. Kidwell wouldn't elaborate on possible candidates, but it is believed that former Eels and Dragons mentor Brian Smith will be involved.
On the player front, Kidwell remains confident that star halfback Shaun Johnson will be back for the World Cup, after his knee injury against Penrith in round 19.
"It's an ongoing thing," said Kidwell. "All expectations are that he should be right, ready to go."
Kidwell also ruled out the prospect of a Benji Marshall return, despite the former Kiwi captain's mini renaissance with the Broncos.
"We have sort of moved on from Benji," said Kidwell. "I mentioned the young halves before and those guys are putting themselves in the frame."