War­riors won’t re­place Gavet

The Southland Times - - Sport - David Long

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.

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