Warriors urge rethink after NRL rebuff

Daniel Gilhooly
The NRL knocked back the Warriors' request for a loan player to replace injured Leeson Ah Mau (r)

Warriors boss Cameron George has called on the NRL to reconsider after his relocated club's request for a loan player to resolve a prop injury crisis was knocked back.

Injuries to Leeson Ah Mau and Jazz Tevaga at the team's Tamworth isolation training base have left the Warriors threadbare in the middle forward stocks and with no traditional recruitment means to bolster their squad.

George said he'd received an assurance that any request for a loan player from another club would be treated on merit, well before the squad flew from Auckland to Tamworth to begin the months-long stay in Australia which has allowed the season to restart.

The Kiwi club's chief executive said there was no greater need than their current plight.

Agnatius Paasi and rookie Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are their only fit specialist props who could be fielded against St George Illawarra on May 30.

George said his request to NRL headquarters over the weekend was declined on the basis there were still 28 fit Warriors players to choose from in Tamworth.

"Because of our restrictions, loaning a player would be a sensible thing for the integrity of the competition to maintain certain standards," George said.

"To simply say we've still got 28 players, they can't all play front row.

"We need to go back to the drawing table with the NRL and have a very clear understanding of who we have and what we don't have available."

Ah Mau (chest) will probably miss the rest of the season, joining specialist props Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei, who suffered long-term injuries in the pre-season.

George said a short-term loan could be all that's needed while middle forward Tevaga shakes off a knee injury that may only cause him to miss a handful of games.

There are no development players in Tamworth with propping experience and, even if there were, George said he would be reluctant to field them on safety grounds.

More than one NRL club has volunteered to provide a loan player, saying they were thankful for the Warriors' sacrifice to play its entire season in Australia.

"Ideally the NRL will sit down with us in the next couple of days and we can work through the significance of what's happened," he said.

"We want to see good games of footy so we've got to make sure the squads are up to the best level and not failing in our duty of care for young kids and pushing them out to make their NRL debuts one or two seasons before they should."