The injury-hit Warriors say duty of care prevents from blooding their younger players instead of loaning players from other clubs, with club boss Cameron George admitting loan deals benefit their rivals, as well as the NZ club.
With the Warriors particularly light on middle forwards after injuries to a number of front rowers, the NRL granted the Warriors permission to loan players from rivals for a period of four weeks.
“Obviously last week we were declined [by the NRL], and I had a number of conversations with [NRL head of football] Graham Annesley post that and basically we were able to have the decision reviewed, reconsidered,” George said.
“We’re obviously very appreciative of the fact that the NRL have amended their position and enabled us to loan players under the circumstances we’re in and it could be a game-wide change so we’ll see what the commission says at their next meeting, very excited that we’re able to look around now.”
George refuted suggestions the club was willing to loan in players from other clubs at the expense of giving the club’s younger players opportunities.
“We’ve got four or five injuries in one position, that in itself is a lot of depth taken away, the reality is you might have 26 players, a certain amount of these are on a development list,” he said.
“They’re developing, careers are where they’re at, at the moment, they’re just young kids coming through the system, your duty of care would prevent you from putting them out there as it is.
“Then in addition to that, we’ve got four or five players out in one position, so therefore you don’t carry too much more stock than that in certain positions.
“It is what it is, we’re at rock bottom in terms of the middle but now we’re going to try and secure some loan players.”
Loan deals would benefit not only the Warriors, but their rivals as well, George admitted.
“We have an opportunity now to speak to other clubs to talk about securing a player for a period of four weeks, then at which time it will be reviewed if need be,” George said.
“It’s great for us, it’s potentially great for the other clubs because they allow a player to go and get some experience elsewhere and get some match fitness.”
“It also gives them some salary cap relief at that time.”
Tigers and Kiwis coach Michael Maguire is also a fan of the loan system, having become familiar with it while in charge of Wigan Warriors in the Super League.
“I think the loan system can be adopted throughout the NRL,” he said.
I utilised it at Wigan when I had a young winger by the name of Josh Charnley, he was one of a number of players coming through in the youth [system and then he stepped up and was caught behind some pretty good players at the time.”
“I sent him off on loan to Hull, he went away and I remember two or three players, one of them was Clint Newton, he spoke about this young Josh Charnley, how great he was.”
“When Josh came back at the end of the four-week loan, he bounced straight into the first grade there at Wigan due to someone else unfortunately having an injury, I don’t think Josh has ever looked back.”
Maguire said he felt for the Warriors with the number of injuries they had suffered.
“I see it as a great opportunity for some of the younger guys and obviously the Warriors in their situation at this present moment, to work through that.”
Maguire believed a loan system would make the competition stronger.