NZ Warriors chief executive Cameron George has taken a shot at the NRL competition's integrity, after the club's request for a loan player was rejected.
Injuries to forwards Jazz Tevaga and Leeson Ah Mau during training last week have done further damage to its already dwindling forward stocks, forcing George to reach out for a loan from another club to help fill the void.
"We've been declined already by the NRL, so we're going to have a second discussion with them," George says.
"Because of our restrictions, loaning a player would be a sensible thing for the integrity of the competition to maintain certain standards."
Before the Warriors departed for their Tamworth base, the NRL assured George that any loan request would be treated on merit.
With Agnatius Paasi and rookie Jamayne Taunoa-Brown their only fit specialist props going into their first game of the restarted competition against St George Illawarra on May 30, there seems to be no better case.
But the request has been turned down, because the squad still had 28 fit players for selection, George says.
"To simply say we've still got 28 players... they can't all play front row.
"We need to go back to the drawing table with the NRL, and have a very clear understanding of who we have and what we don't have available."
Ah Mau will probably miss the rest of the season, along with props Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei, but the injury to Jazz Tevaga isn't as bad as originally thought.
Tevaga is expected to only miss a few games, meaning a short-term loan is likely all the club initially needs to get by.
Other clubs have volunteered to provide loan players to express their gratitude for the Warriors' sacrifice to play its entire season in Australia.
"Ideally, the NRL will sit down with us in the next couple of days and we can work through the significance of what's happened," George adds.
"We want to see good games of footy, so we've got to make sure the squads are up to the best level, and not failing in our duty of care for young kids and pushing them out to make their NRL debuts one or two seasons before they should."