Warriors high-flyer Kevin Locke's new deal

AARON LAWTON
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2011

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Warriors young gun Kevin Locke will be calling Mt Smart Stadium home for at least another year after being told by the club they will be taking up an option in his contract.

Rumours had been rife in recent weeks that 22-year-old Locke, who is off contract at the season's end, was in talks with rival NRL clubs for next year.

But the Warriors have first dibs on Locke through an option in his existing contract and CEO Wayne Scurrah yesterday confirmed the talented utility back was going nowhere in 2012.

"We are intending to take up the option with Kevin," Scurrah said.

One insider said yesterday the Warriors had initially considered setting Locke free at the end of the season. Another said the Rabbitohs had expressed an interest in him.

But the Warriors' position appears to have changed after Lance Hohaia recently signed a four-year deal with Super League giants St Helens.

The option will trigger a contract for 2012 but Scurrah remained tight-lipped on whether the club would attempt to negotiate a deal to keep Locke beyond next season.

Off the field, Locke has had a distracting start to the year after being named as the player at the centre of sexual assault allegations. He has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have confirmed reports they attempted to lure Manly 19-year-old back Will Hopoate to Auckland next year.

The son of former Sea Eagle John announced on Friday he was leaving the NRL to complete a two-year Mormon mission and Scurrah admitted the Warriors made an approach to his agent earlier in the year.

"All I can say is that we were aware he was off contract and there has been a lot of speculation about the various clubs that were looking at him," Scurrah said. "We certainly inquired about him."

One player who will be joining the Warriors next year is Gold Coast Titans hooker Nathan Friend.

The 30-year-old is sidelined with a shoulder complaint and news reports in Australia suggest the injury is worse than first thought and he may have played his last game for the Titans.

Scurrah met Friend last week before the Warriors game against the Titans on the Gold Coast and ruled out plans for the hooker to arrive early in Auckland to begin rehabilitation after surgery last week.

"We are going to let him stay over there. There's still a substantial part of the season to go and he has a family with kids," Scurrah said.

"We met up with him last week and everything's cool there.

"The injury is something he'll get corrected properly.

"He will be fine for the start of next season."

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