Head of Football Graham Annesley has revealed that the NRL have given special dispensation to the New Zealand Warriors to acquire loan players for the restart of the NRL season.
Having relocated to Australia to ensure that the season could recommence on May 28, the Kiwi side have been plagued by injuries, with forwards Leeson Ah Mau and Jazz Tevaga ruled out for an extended period, with utility back Adam Keighran the latest to go down.
However, Annesley told The Continuous Call Team that the club will be able to negotiate agreements with rival clubs to bring in replacements, with clubs notified about the dispensation on Saturday morning.
“They’ve been given that (dispensation) only a few hours ago,” Annesley said.
“All clubs were notified that the Warriors will be given that dispensation.
“The salary cap auditor has used discretion to give that approval subject to the (ARL) Commission ultimately signing off on that, that’s been done.
“Everyone appreciates the extreme lengths the Warriors have gone to, to try and bring this competition back to life.
“Once the Commission signs off on the rule, the same rule will apply to all clubs subject to meeting the guidelines of course.”
The Australian reporter Brent Read revealed that the loan deal will be initially for a four week period with an option to extend until the end of the season, with Tigers prop Russell Packer amongst a list of players offered.
“The Warriors have been given approval for that loan deal and the other clubs have been notified this afternoon that they can loan players to the Warriors,” Read told Triple M.
“It will be initially for four weeks but they can extend it beyond that
“Stephen Kearney and Peter O’Sullivan will sit down this afternoon to look at five or six players and decide what they want to do and who they are going to pick up.
“The interesting name that has popped up is Russell Packer, who is at the Wests Tigers and has struggled there but I know his name is on their radar,
“I’m not sure if that’s being pushed by the club but that is one of the names being discussed.”
As the club looks to bolster their forward pack, former Australian and NSW lock Paul Gallen made the shock announcement that he would be willing to come out of retirement to help them out.
However, Read suggests that he would have to take a train and trial deal, with the Warriors looking to bring in Tongan international forward Ben Murdoch-Masila for their final roster spot, who was set to join in 2021.
“His agent Dave Riolo made a formal approach and the club basically said that they only have one spot left on their roster left,” he said.
“That spot is being kept for Ben Murdoch-Masila so Gal would’ve had to play on a train and trial deal, which is basically $2,000 to train and $3,000 per game,
“They want to get Ben Murdoch-Masila back from England, I think Ben was going to talk to the club in the next 24 hours about potentially getting out his deal over there and coming back and playing for the Warriors.”