The Warriors will be seeking to loan players from other clubs around Australia, to mitigate the impact of being marooned across the Tasman for an indefinite period of time.

Warriors' CEO Cameron George said the club has already had discussions with multiple NRL teams, and will also be contacting clubs from the second-tier NSW and Queensland Cup competitions to assess possibilities within their rosters.

The concept of loan players is well established in football, used either as a development tool or as a way to defray some of the wages of a player that isn't getting match time at their parent club.

Sky Sport News: March 17

It's must less common in rugby league, due to the different shape of the market and the higher injury probabilities but George said the Warriors were left with little choice to maintain numbers in their squad, given the 14 day self-isolation rules in place for arriving travellers in New Zealand and Australia.

The Warriors in a huddle during the 2020 NRL round one clash with the Newcastle Knights
The Warriors in a huddle during the 2020 NRL round one clash with the Newcastle Knights

"It's our only option," said George. "If we send players over [from New Zealand] after the game on Saturday it's another two weeks, that's two more games. If we get injuries this week, that's another problem.

"We are talking to a couple of clubs on some players that might be available under the circumstances. It's a real possibility, given the restriction of travel and that we can't get people in there. [We are] just working out who and where from?"

However George admitted that the finer details including duration, salary payments and injury cover were complex.

He added that while other NRL teams were sensitive to the Warriors current predicament, ultimately they were still rivals, and any potential loan players wouldn't be currently featuring in first grade.

"Everyone is, in some way shape or form, sympathetic but they don't want to give us a competitive edge either," said George. "Everyone is trying to help in some way, though at the end of the day they are not going to give us a leg up."

But George added that if the status quo continues the Warriors are going to need reinforcements, as a matter of equity.

Ahead of their relocated match against the Raiders on the Gold Coast on Saturday, they currently have 19 members of their top 30 in Australia, after Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert returned home on Sunday for family reasons.

They also have five players from their development squad, and have been given special permission to pick those players in their match day 21, if necessary, but those young players would not be week to week propositions.


"We need the ability to pick 30 players, like every other club," said George. "We can't be over there in these difficult circumstances and be disadvantaged by the depth and experience of our squad."

"At this present time we are significantly on the back foot. Look at us compared to any other club in the NRL right now. They have got 30 players to choose from, we have got 19, with special permission 24. That's a huge disadvantage."

The Warriors are sending over extra clothes and other personal items to the team on Wednesday, after it was dropped off by wives, partners and family members to Mt Smart on Tuesday.

Like the other 15 clubs, the Warriors are waiting to hear what happens beyond round two.

The NRL are determined to explore every option to keep the competition going — given the drastic financial implications of postponement or cancellation — and may look at basing the teams at one or two hubs in Australia.

"The biggest challenge of all is not knowing what happens beyond this weekend," said George. "[For us] it's just about this week…take a deep breath and get through this week."