There could be a twist in the long-running Warriors ownership saga, with a new consortium emerging that will complicate the picture.

The Auckland Rugby League and the Tongan-American group headed by Richard Fale have been in the foreground for the past few months, engaged in a sometimes public battle to win control of the club.

But the Herald on Sunday understands a third group, with no links to either the ARL or Fale's Pacific Sport International, could be in the best position to win control of the club.

Little is known about the mystery group, but they are believed to be funded by local and overseas-based capital, and have been negotiating with club owner Eric Watson's representatives since the start of the year.


They have maintained an extremely low profile, in contrast to the ARL and PSI, who have often been in the public sphere.

Although it has dragged on since last August, when Watson first confirmed he was open to selling the club after being contacted by Auckland businessman Paul Davys, it looks as though the transfer of ownership could finally be coming to a head. Time-lines have been constantly extended, but it appears a deal will be agreed by the end of this month, and possibly as early as this week.

The final deal will also need to be approved by the NRL.

Fale remained confident his group, who were embroiled in a war of words with the ARL this week, can get their audacious bid across the line.

"We have agreed on price," Fale told the Herald on Sunday. "And we have agreed it will be a share sale agreement. The ball is now in their court. We are expecting to have the final agreement very soon, and then we will come back to Auckland for the last step."

ARL chairman Cameron McGregor said he did not want to to comment on the progress of their bid but it's understood the only sticking point is the price, as all the other conditions have been agreed.

Warriors executive chairman Jim Doyle, who is handling the negotiations along with Watson's lawyer Don Stanway, was also reluctant to elaborate.

"As we have said since the start, all negotiations and communication regarding the sale of the Warriors are private and confidential, and that continues to be the case," said Doyle.


Ultimately, the final decision will be Watson's, with the London-based businessman and notoriously tough negotiator determined to strike the best deal possible.