The Warriors remain hopeful teenage recruit Reece Walsh can join them within days while confident they can keep utility back Paul Turner, who rejected an initial trade deal with Brisbane.
The player swap looked set to go ahead, however Turner’s management on Tuesday decided they couldn’t agree to the terms and Walsh’s departure was put on ice.
Warriors coach Nathan Brown said he wanted Walsh on board to spend as much time as possible working with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck before the superstar fullback’s code switch to rugby union at the end of the season.
But despite Turner being offered up by the Warriors, Brown has named him on an extended bench for their Friday night clash with Manly at Central Coast Stadium, looking to encourage the talented rookie to stay with the club.
Turner, 20, has only played one NRL match, coming off the bench at halfback in the Warriors round 15 win over Canterbury last year, although he is equally at home at fullback or five-eighth.
“Pauli’s manager asked if we’d let him go and I wasn’t real keen on that because he’s a talented player and we’d like to keep him if we could,” Brown said.
“Hopefully whatever happens, Reece will be here in the next few days and in an ideal world Pauli stays with us.
“If Pauli chooses that there’s a better opportunity with Brisbane that might unfold too, so I’m not 100 per cent sure.
“Pauli is in our squad of 21 this week and is very close to playing for us.”
The rise of Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen under now-retired superstar fullback Billy Slater is a relationship Brown would like to see develop between 18-year-old Walsh and Tuivasa-Sheck.
“The good clubs … when they lose a player like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck they have someone coming through their system to replace them,” Brown said.
“For us, Reece coming here and having a season with us before he takes fully over from Roger is important.
“He gets to learn about what we expect from him and what we need from him and we also get to learn a lot about him as well as he’s going to bring some skill sets that are very different to Roger.”