Kevin Locke to leave NZ once UK visa granted

DAVID LONG
Last updated 10:36 13/06/2014
Kevin Locke
Getty
FIRED UP: Kevin Locke has fired a few shots in the direction of the Warriors about how he was treated this season.

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Kevin Locke will leave the Warriors as soon as his work visa for the United Kingdom comes through.

An agreement has been reached between the Warriors and Salford over an early release for the star fullback and all that's left to be sorted out is the paperwork with the UK Border Agency.

Locke is understood to have applied for a visa earlier this week and media reports suggesting he wants to play out the rest of the season with the Warriors before heading to England are well wide of the mark.

The fullback was notably absent from training this week and has been placed on leave by the Warriors.

While the club is keen to help Locke with his transition and is also assisting him with some personal issues, the Warriors are no longer interested in having him play for them again.

If there was the faintest of chances of Locke running out for the Warriors again he would have been named in the reserve grade team to play the Cronulla Sharks in the NSW Cup in Gisborne tomorrow.

Instead, the highly promising Tuimoala Lolohea is playing fullback. Given Glen Fisiiahi could be out for the rest of the season with a nerve problem in one of his shoulders, Lolohea is being primed as the back up custodian to Sam Tomkins.

Other options for the No. 1 jersey are Carlos Tuimavave and David Fusitua, although Lolohea will be given the first crack at it if anything happens to Tomkins.

Salford's owner Marwan Koukash has already taken to Twitter to thank the Warriors for their assistance in releasing Locke. He wanted to take Locke to England as soon as his three-year deal was agreed last month, but at the time the club was reluctant to let him go.

That's not the case now and to fit him inside the salary cap, Salford, who are in the midst of a relegation battle in the Super League, have offloaded Tim Smith to Wakefield, while Shannon McPherson is returning to Australia.

Something that could cause a delay for Locke in getting his visa is the three convictions he has for driving while disqualified.

In 2009, fellow Kiwi Greg Eastwood's move to Leeds had to be put on hold for a year after his application for a visa was initially turned down because he had a speeding conviction. He was forced to appeal the decision before eventually joining the Yorkshire club.

Salford have sought outside assistance in getting over any potential stumbling blocks regarding Locke's visa application.

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Salford chief executive Martin Vickers said: "We've got some specialist advisers helping us through the process."

- Stuff

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