NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney wants experienced forward after loan deal approved

NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney says the club is looking to loan in a player with NRL experience, while confirming that the team is hopeful of bringing Ben Murdoch-Masila into camp.

On Saturday afternoon, the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley approved the Warriors' request to loan a player to help them through their injury woes.

The Warriors are down several middle forwards due injury, and their team to face the St George Illawarra Dragons next Saturday will likely feature many young and inexperienced players. 

The Warriors headed into the season without props Jackson Frei and Bunty Afoa (knee injuries), but since returning to Australia fellow middle-men Leeson Ah Mau (pectoral) and Jazz Tevaga (knee) went down with injuries. Backs Taana Milne and Adam Keighran are also injured.

The NRL initially denied the Warriors the chance to loan a player in, but now they've changed their stance which is a relief for Kearney. 

"It's just been very welcoming news given the injury crisis to our middle forwards," he told Fox League Live. "It gives a better opportunity to have a bit of depth in that position." 

"From our point of view it would probably be a player from 20 to 25 on a club's list. We're after a middle forward who's got some NRL experience having lost Leeson and Bunty earlier this year.

"We just needed to get it over the line, now we can move forward and look at getting a player who's not going to get any game time in the next couple of weeks. We can get him to the club and give him some football."

Dragons coach Paul McGregror said he was happy to loan  young gun Eddie Blacker to the Warriors, although he hasn't played in the NRL before. 

The Warriors have also tried to snare  Toby Rudolf - who they've reportedly signed on a three-year deal from 2021 - from the Cronulla Sharks but they are unwilling to release the 24-year-old. 

Warrington Wolves prop Murdoch-Masila - who has also signed with the Warriors from 2021 - has also expressed his willingness to join the club early.

Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Ben Murdoch-Masila. Photo credit: Getty

Kearney said Warriors management is talking to the Wolves, but Warrington are hopeful that the English Super League will resume in August. 

"We've been working with Ben and his agent," Kearney added. 

"I'm not 100 percent sure when they're looking at the Super League season starting up but I know Ben and the family are keen to come back.

"So we're working through that with Ben and his agent to try and make that happen, but Warrington are hopeful their competition might get back up and running later on in the year."

Wests Tigers forward Matt Eisenhuth - who has played 56 NRL games - has been linked to the club too, along with former Warriors Russell Packer. 

On Thursday, the Warriors signed former Canberra Raiders forward Jack Murchie until the end of the season. 

NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney wants experienced forward after loan deal approved
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