Warriors coach Nathan Brown has hit back at claims his club have put up the white flag for the season by releasing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck early, adamant critics don't know the full story.
Tuivasa-Sheck and fellow Warrior Leeson Ah Mau were given permission to fly back to New Zealand on Thursday, ending their NRL season with six weeks to go.
Tuivasa-Sheck's call to leave before the trans-Tasman bubble closes for eight weeks has come at a cost, with the rugby-bound star giving up the remaining $300,000 of his contract.
But the move has prompted critics to claim the Warriors have given up on their season, after dropping the last seven games straight to sit 14th.
However Brown was adamant that wasn't the case on Wednesday.
Instead, he pointed out that if COVID-19 cases emerge in Queensland the team may not be able to return home until December at the earliest.
That would come as a blow to Tuivasa-Sheck's move to the 15-man game, while the off-contact Ah Mau is going back to New Zealand so his wife can work as he weighs up retirement.
"If people looked at the facts with the borders, I think they would understand with the full extent of the situation with Roger and Leeson," Brown said.
"Rog can't afford to be stuck in Australia in October, which is a real possibility.
"It's not about people putting the white flag up, you have to think about individuals lives and their futures.
"In both these dates that's what we have done."
Brown insisted that the players would show on Friday against the Warriors and they had not given up on their season.
And he also claimed that Tuivasa-Sheck's decision would financially benefit the club and allow them to tweak their salary cap.
Tuivasa-Sheck and Ah Mau spent Wednesday saying emotional goodbyes to players, with whiz kid Reece Walsh admitting he was almost brought to tears.
And after being brought to the club as the long-term replacement for Tuivasa-Sheck, Walsh said he now felt he could contact the superstar fullback for advice through his own career.
"I feel like the type of person Rog is (I can)," Walsh said.
"He laid it out on the table when I was negotiating to be at the Warriors; he said if I ever need anything to pick up the phone and call him.
"I definitely feel like we have the relationship where I can do that."
Australian Associated Press