Warriors create loan hit list for NRL team

Matt Encarnacion
The Warriors playing squad could be boosted by loan players from rival NRL teams

Warriors boss Cameron George has revealed they have created a hit list of players that could be taken on loan in a bid to remain in this year's NRL competition.

The Warriors' status for the rest of the season is unclear due to strict travel restrictions in New Zealand and Australia as a result of coronavirus.

The NRL has already begun contingency plans should the Warriors be unable to participate in the NRL after this week's round-two match against Canberra.

However, it is understood the league is considering the radical idea of loaning players from rival clubs too in a desperate attempt to fulfil broadcast obligations.

"We've got a hit list," George told reporters on Tuesday.

"So we have been talking to a couple of clubs about some players that might be available under the circumstances and how that would look, for how long.

"But it's a real possibility given the restrictions of travel.

"We can't get people in there. There's a real option for us to look at, it's just working out who and where from."

The NRL has already given the green light for the Warriors to use their development players, five of whom are already with the playing group in Kingscliff.

Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert, both of whom played in their round-one loss to Newcastle, are unavailable after returning home for personal reasons.

Their absence has left coach Stephen Kearney with just 24 players available to face the Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.

It remains unclear if the Warriors will return home after the match.

Under newly-introduced policies, all international arrivals in New Zealand and Australia must self-quarantine for a fortnight.

George admitted that while some clubs were sympathetic to their predicament he wasn't expecting rivals to offer some of their stronger players.

In the Warriors' favour is the possible suspension of reserve-grade competitions in both NSW and Queensland.

NSW Rugby League officials are believed to be in discussions about whether to continue with their seasons due to the pandemic threat.

The Warriors' NSW Cup team has already returned home after last week's opening round and is all but certain to be left out of the competition.

A decision is likely to be made by Wednesday.

Players with first-grade experience who appeared in the NSW Cup last week include Tautau Moga, Mason Lino, Matt Burton and Drew Hutchison.

Jai Field, Will Smith, Daniel Alvaro, Ofahiki Ogden, Sauaso Sue, Chris McQueen, Matt Eisenhuth, Jack Johns and Jayson Bukuya also featured in reserve grade.

"It's a difficult one because if you're a club and you're happy to help out you're not going to throw anyone out of your top bunch at us," George said.

"The players we'll be dealing with will be ones on the fringe not playing NRL.