Warriors hunt mid-season replacement for Tuimoala Lolohea

Tuimoala Lolohea could be moving to Australia in the next couple of weeks.
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Tuimoala Lolohea could be moving to Australia in the next couple of weeks.

The Warriors are actively trying to recruit a player so that Tuimoala Lolohea can be given an immediate release.

Lolohea wants to reignite his career at another NRL club after being sidelined at the Warriors and has three offers on the table.

But at a meeting on Monday with senior Warriors officials, Lolohea was informed that he won't be allowed to leave the club until a suitable player had been found to replace him.

There had been suggestions that Lolohea may have to stay at the club for the remainder of the season.

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Tuimoala Lolohea's days at Warriors numbered

However, Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro has confirmed the club is currently in the market for someone to fill Lolohea's boots.

The NRL's deadline to bring in a player is June 30, but Lolohea would like to go well before that. Iro would also like the a deal to be done sooner, rather than later.

"You're always hopeful," Iro said.

"But contract negotiations can be easy, or they can be tricky. We're hoping."

The player the Warriors bring in to replace Lolohea will be contracted to another NRL club, so an early release from his contract will also need to be negotiated.

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"It's not just a case of finding a player we want to come," Iro said.

"There's then all that other stuff which has to be worked through."

If the Warriors can complete a deal with a player quickly, Lolohea could be gone next week.

The 22-year-old has been unhappy with his situation at the Warriors this year, having fallen out of the first grade team and dropped to the reserves.

The final straw came when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was selected ahead of him for the game against the Roosters a couple of weeks ago.

Lolohea asked for an early release from his contract, which finishes at the end of next season, and the Warriors allowed him to talk to other clubs.

Wests Tigers, the Raiders and Cowboys have all made offers, but these could be dependent on whether Lolohea can leave the Warriors now, or at the end of the season.

Crucially, the Warriors are on the lookout for someone who can play and fullback and wing, the positions Lolohea was covering at the club this year.

Although Lolohea's preferred position is in the halves and the Warriors will lose Kieran Foran next year, the player the Warriors will bring in won't be someone who specialises at playing in a No 6 jersey.

The Warriors have offered Ata Hingano a contract for next year, but are believed to still be in the market for another five eighth for 2018 and have narrowed that search down to two players, Te Maire Martin and one other.

Martin, though, would need a release from the Panthers to join the club.

 - Stuff

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