The Auckland Rugby League's move to acquire the New Zealand Warriors is gathering momentum.

Representatives of the ARL, who hope to take a majority share in the NRL club through the Carlaw Park Heritage Trust, have agreed an asking price with current owner Eric Watson, resolving a previous gulf between their respective valuations of the club.

The ARL has almost completed its second week of due diligence of the club, and have one of the big four accounting firms acting on their behalf to do a comprehensive appraisal of assets, liabilities and accounts, which is the final step before a sale and purchase agreement can be negotiated.

There could be a settlement date as early as the end of next month.


Aside from the business aspects of the club, the ARL has also formed a sub-committee to conduct an audit of the football element of the business, which is the obvious work-on for the Warriors.

Representatives of the ARL will meet with coaching and management staff at the Warriors over the next week as they continue to garner intelligence on the operations side of the club.

The ARL intend to take a 55 per cent shareholding in the Warriors, with three corporate partners taking 15 per cent apiece.

The ARL are assessing several possible partners, but are keen to find the right fit.

"For us it's a logical and good step," ARL Chairman Cameron McGregor told the Herald.

"Having corporate partners is important because they bring that corporate discipline, which is essential. Obviously as well as a football club this is a big brand and a big business.

"We know a lot about the football side of things but having that corporate discipline is important for us to mitigate any risk. We have had some good discussions with a few interested parties."

Financially, the deal stacks up.

The new funding model put in place by the NRL means an extra $3 million into each clubs coffers from next season, virtually guaranteeing a healthy annual profit each year at Mt Smart.

McGregor is enthusiastic about the possibilities for the sport in Auckland - and across New Zealand - if their bid comes to fruition.

"There is a lot of upside for the game," said McGregor.

"We feel that things are heading in a positive direction. We hope our clubs could be more engaged with the Warriors, and the Warriors more engaged with our clubs."

If the ARL could gain control of the Warriors it would be a significant boost for the sport.

It would lead to much stronger pathways and better avenues for development, and improved alignment between the NRL operation and the amateur clubs spread across the region.

It would also mean, in time, that the huge drain of talent to Australia might be lessened, as promising local players have more options to continue their development in this city.