Axe hovers over Warriors NRLW and juniors

Daniel Gilhooly
Warriors CEO Cameron George says they are struggling to fund their women's team and junior scheme

Warriors boss Cameron George says the club's NRLW team and its junior program both face the axe and has sought government help to keep them afloat.

George addressed a New Zealand parliament epidemic response committee on Thursday, outlining the massive toll of the coronavirus pandemic on its annual revenue of about $30 million ($A28.2 million).

He is confident of the club's survival but said discretionary spending on the women's team and junior development scheme are under enormous threat.

George argued both were fully funded by the club yet provided benefit to wider New Zealand.

He has entered discussions with government body Sport NZ to see if support is available to keep them operational.

"Because we won't survive if we have to keep those programs in place and fully funded," George said.

He said the NRLW team, one of just four to have competed in the first two seasons of the competition, was aspirational for an increasing number of Kiwi girls wanting to play rugby league.

He estimated about 30,000 Kiwi children were annually engaged by the Warriors' development pathway program, which had been introduced in part to stymie the flood of youngsters from a deep Kiwi talent pool from crossing the Tasman to pursue a sports career.

"It's significant to the landscape of New Zealand. It's not about the NRL, it's about how we inspire and develop and engage the kids, both female and male, into becoming elite athletes," George said.

"One of the consequential effects of a lack of investment is that we may see kids who may have been in our programs leave the country sooner and join other clubs throughout the world."

George says it will be some time before the Warriors return to stable financial footing.

The size of their financial loss will depend on the goodwill of sponsors and the level of refunds requested by members, with the Warriors poised to play all their games in Australia this season.