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Warriors Pull Plug on Players' Manager

Warriors Pull Plug on Players' Manager

Club Will Look to New Talent

Auckland, New Zealand, 6 November 2000 - The New Zealand Warriors today withdrew offers to three players handled by players' manager Simon Burgess, citing obstructive practices and an undermining of players' interests.

Players represented by Burgess include Robert Mears, Ali Lauiti'iti and Logan Swann. The club had offered the players base salaries that exceeded their previous salaries by 50% (Mears), 25% (Lauiti'iti) and 8% (Swann), with win and playoff bonuses on top.

"The offers are fair and they compare favourably with what we know other clubs are offering," said Warriors General Manager, Mick Watson. "But it's our view that for this one players' manager, pay isn't the issue. It's payback for past problems."

"It's important for the future of the Warriors that we control our own destiny," said Watson. "If that means a greater emphasis on developing our own talent and looking at alternate sources, so be it. We're determined to build a club that rewards players for performance and we will not be held up by what we regard as misinformation and delaying tactics.

"When we finally managed to speak to the players last week we discovered that their manager had sat on offers for several days without passing them on. It is our view that he has his own agenda, and it's not in the best interests of the game, the club or even the players. We have no issue with the players: we wanted to sign them and were willing to pay them well. But we will not deal with Burgess and his delaying tactics -- which seem to be part of a personal agenda - now or in the future.

"This is extremely disappointing to us and to the players who have already signed with the club. We have prepared alternate plans, naturally, and are confident about putting a good team on the field when the season opens.

Now it's about getting on and building one. Coach Daniel Anderson said that the Rugby League World Cup had provided "one or two interesting possibilities," but that he planned to rebuild the team around a blend of youth and experience.

"The future of the club is about finding and developing our own talent," he said. "And it starts now."

ENDS

For further information contact Allan Botica +64 21 400 500 allanb@bca.co.nz

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