Warriors won’t replace Gavet
The Warriors won’t be out shopping for a replacement for James Gavet.
The prop has been released from the final year of his contract and it is believed he had his first training session with the Newcastle Knights yesterday.
Gavet had progressed during his three years at the Warriors to become one of the club’s leading forwards.
But the club has decided to allow him to pick up a two-year deal with the Knights and Warriors general manager of football Brian Smith says they’re not initially going to look to replace him.
‘‘We feel like we’ve got enough flexibility, with a number of guys who can play loose forward, front row and even second row, especially Adam Blair,’’ Smith said.
‘‘We feel like we’ve got enough numbers, but we will measure that over the next period of pre-season training and if we feel like we need to address that, we’ll see what’s in the market.’’
Forwards like Bunty Afoa, Agnatius Paasi and Isaiah Papali’i all had impressive campaigns in 2018, while Leeson Ah Mau joined the club from the Dragons and the club also has high expectations for Chris Satae next year.
‘‘We’d like to give those guys a crack and they’ve got an opportunity to play more in the first team in Chris’ case,’’ Smith said. ‘‘So we’re not concerned about that greatly, but it is something we’ll be careful about and monitor as we go.’’
Coming up to Christmas, most NRL teams should have their squads sorted, but there are a number of players still floating around and Smith says the coaching merry-goround currently happening, may put more players on the market.
‘‘We’re not the only club thinking there could be some serious fallout, depending on what happens with coaches in the next little while,’’ Smith said.
‘‘There could be a bit of a shakeup in some places and if that happens, it will leave us reasonably well placed if we felt like we wanted to make a move.’’
Meanwhile, Smith said the club is close to agreeing a new deal with centre Solomone Kata, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2019 season.
However, the situation with Shaun Johnson remains unresolved.
The halfback has been in the UK with the Kiwis since the Warriors announced they weren’t yet ready to offer Johnson a contract beyond next season and he was free to talk to other clubs.
Naturally, Johnson has been focused on playing his best for the Kiwis for the past month, but once this weekend’s final test against England is out of the way, discussions on his future will begin at Mt Smart Stadium.
James Gavet has left the Warriors and joined the Newcastle Knights.