Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has drawn a line in the sand with the Kiwis' Denver test on the horizon.
Any of his players who feature in the match against England at Mile High Stadium in late June won't be considered for the Warriors match against the Sharks three days later.
It could significantly alter the Warriors team, given the number of Kiwis contenders across the squad, but Kearney believes it's the only feasible solution.
The Kiwis squad arrive back from Denver on June 26 and the Warriors host Cronulla on June 29.
The New Zealand Rugby League have given assurances about player welfare but Kearney believes the timeline is too demanding.
"They get back on Tuesday after a 20-hour flight and we are playing on the Friday," Kearney told the Herald on Sunday. "It's unrealistic. Time zones, altitude, not to mention the game of footy, flights, preparation. At the moment, I would have to rule those players out. Absolutely. Flying over, playing, flying all the way back — there is no way you could do it."
To exacerbate matters, the Warriors face North Queensland in Townsville in the game before the Denver test.
Kearney, who played 45 tests before nine years as Kiwis coach, emphasises he is "totally supportive" of international league. He says he would have loved the chance to play in the United States but thinks more consultation and planning was necessary before this exercise.
"The issue was making the decision the week before the [NRL] season starts ... it just needs to be positioned properly," he said. "It's too much of a challenging situation."
The Warriors will be particularly affected, given they could also have a number of representatives in the Pacific tests in Australia the same weekend. That's where the scheduling makes no sense, especially with the Townsville trip adding an extra burden. A more logical solution could have seen the Warriors have home games either side of the test window, and their match against the Sharks played on a Sunday, which would give their Kiwis two more days to recover and possibly play.
That will be a discussion point for next year, but for now, an equitable solution needs to be found. It will help that Kearney and new Kiwis coach Michael Maguire have a strong relationship from their time together at the Melbourne Storm, but there is no easy answer without compromises on both sides.
"We'll have to work it out," Kearney said. "We all want to see test football and the Kiwis playing regularly. We need to get it sorted and come to some sort of middle ground."