Warriors brace for week of uncertainty

Warriors forward Isaiah Papali'i admits this will be a week of worry for the four teammates who are on the verge of returning to Auckland.

A week of intense worry and uncertainty lies ahead for the Warriors - something second-rower Isaiah Papali'i labels business as usual as they await the NRL fate of four homesick players.

The Kiwi club is preparing to plead for loan players to replace wingers Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu'a, along with forwards Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayaywa, who could all be on a flight home to Auckland as soon as next Monday.

Sunday's match against Cronulla marks the deadline the Warriors gave NRL bosses to be granted an exemption for families to join the squad at their relocated base in Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast.

Ten weeks after the club's groundbreaking arrival in Australia, Government agencies are still to give a compassionate green light for the loved ones to travel.

Papali'i conceded the players had been affected by the impasse and would find this week especially difficult, particularly the foursome who all had personal reasons to return.

If they board the plane, they will almost certainly be opting out of the final 10 rounds of the regular season.

"I think it's more for them, they're going to be worrying about it rather than us," Papali'i said on Monday.

"We've got to keep moving forward, no matter what happens really. We're just going to support the boys who are making that decision."

Little-used forward Leivaha Pulu returned home for family reasons 10 days ago and Papali'i admitted the surge of looming departures would be difficult to cope with.

However, the players had developed thick skins during an unprecedented run of challenges, which include a suffocating March/April lockdown in New Zealand, mounting injuries, the sacking of coach Stephen Kearney and the blunt public thoughts of owner Mark Robinson.

Added to that, there is disquiet at the performance of match officials in Friday's 16-12 loss to the Gold Coast.

The Titans weren't penalised once while a non-try ruling against Warriors loan forward Jack Hetherington proved critical.

"This whole year's been a bit funny with things being up and down everywhere," Papali'i said.

"Obviously it (players leaving) is another obstacle in the road but I guess we'll sit down - if it does happen - and try to put it all out there and move on as quick as we can."


AAP