The Warriors are open to releasing their Kiwi internationals for a proposed mid-year test against England in Denver but have major concerns about their players embarking on the long-haul trip.

The Auckland-based NRL outfit's high number of New Zealand test stars will likely make them one of the clubs most affected by the proposed game on US soil in the June 22-24 standalone representative weekend.

Sources in Australia believe the test is close to a done deal and recent reports suggested an announcement regarding the match could come this week. Officials have reportedly focused on convincing clubs with large contingents of Kiwi players to support the initiative.

Read more: Kiwis to play England in the US?


The Warriors are prepared to consider releasing the likes of Kiwis captain Adam Blair, halfback Shaun Johnson and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the test, but have serious concerns about player welfare.

The club are alarmed they have not heard any formal confirmation of the fixture from either the promoters Moore Sports or the NZRL, and are yet to receive any fine detail regarding proposed travel plans, logistics and player insurance.

"Firstly we haven't had any confirmation of the Kiwis participating in it," Warriors CEO Cameron George told the Herald.

"Secondly, if that's coming, we'll be requesting all the details right through from travel details to player insurance for the United States.

"Welfare is critical but as I've said previously, we totally support international rugby league and the game getting wider exposure."

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney spoke about the matter yesterday with NZRL well-being and education manager Nigel Vagana, but expressed grave reservations about his players travelling such a distance.

"I don't know (if it will go ahead). I haven't heard the detail, no," said Kearney.

"I do (have concerns) definitely. It's not like going to Brisbane and playing.

"I had a discussion with Nigel Vagana yesterday and I think something is supposed to come out in the next week or so. I'm not too sure, but he's just keeping me across it."

Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has guaranteed to release his players for the Denver test. Photo / Photosport.
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has guaranteed to release his players for the Denver test. Photo / Photosport.

Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett last week guaranteed to release his players for the Denver test, with the 68-year-old also in talks with the RFL about renewing his contract as England coach, after his first two-year term expired following the World Cup final last November.

Bennett issued his assurance that even if he is not in charge of the England side going forward, he would happily let the likes of Broncos stars Jordan Kahu, Alex Glenn and Kodi Nikorima turn out for the Kiwis.

"It's not that we haven't done these games before, the problem is we don't do it on a consistent basis," Bennett told

"And if we're trying to build the game, which we obviously are with the World Cup that is going to be in the States in 2025, if we don't start doing things like this no one is going to know what rugby league is over there in 2025.

"If this game wasn't to go ahead it would be hypocritical. And it would be a case of bias against the English given the other countries can now get players released.

"Clubs have to release players for State of Origin, we have to release them to play for Tonga, Samoa and whatever else.

"So what's the difference with Australia, England and New Zealand?

"Those guys have been playing the Australia-New Zealand test in the middle of the season anyway for the past decade, what's the difference?"

The Herald attempted to speak to Moore Sports and the NZRL but is yet to receive a reply.

To get the day's top sports stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here