ARL want the Warriors

The Auckland Rugby League (ARL) which provides half the New Zealands players, has set their sights on regaining a controlling interest in the Warriors.

ARL chairman Cameron McGregor, said they had yet to talk to Warriors owner Eric Watson but regaining a stake in the Australian National Rugby League club was part of their long-term strategic plan.

McGregor said today he was the only dissenting voice in the ARL when the Warriors were sold five years ago.

However, he said now the ARL was establishing a solid income stream through the commercial activities at Carlaw Park in Auckland City, it was time to take another look at regaining a stake in the Warriors.

"We are a key stakeholder in the business whatever way you look at it and 99 per cent of the players that play for the Warriors come through our Auckland development.

"It has got to be a key platform to bring the game in Auckland together again."

He said the Warriors needed Auckland from a "player development perspective."

McGregor said the ARL was an important part of the Warriors.

"We believe we are an important part of the Warriors and if the Warriors really want to be an on-going viable proposition we need to be part of them."

The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) owned 10 per cent of the Warriors but was compelled to offer that first to Cullen Sports (Eric Watson's company) if it wanted to sell, McGregor said.

"We are saying it is much better from a Warriors point of view that the Auckland Rugby League is the shareholder and not the New Zealand Rugby League."

He said they had yet to talk to Eric Watson about the concept.

"I am not talking about it happening tomorrow or the next day. It may be a long-term thing.

"But we have got to be there somewhere in 10 years' time," McGregor said.

"The intention was to meet with Eric and discuss the synergies of the two organisations.

"The reality is that they have put a very good business model together but they are lacking the football side of it.

"We believe we have got the experience and the football nous and we can help them."

He said what the club had been doing may have been good for the Warriors but "was not necessarily good for Auckland rugby league".

The ARL originally sold the Warriors because it could not finance the club but that had changed with the commercial development of Carlaw Park.

"We are getting our financial income streams in order. In the next couple of years, we are going to be in very, very good shape.

"The long-term vision would obviously be to have a controlling interest in them again," McGregor said.

NZRL chairman Selwyn Pearson said he had no trouble with the concept of ARL taking a shareholding or a controlling interest in the Warriors.

"I certainly wouldn't have a problem with it. Auckland are one of our affiliates.

"They have a wonderful asset called Carlaw Park which is worth an enormous amount of money. They also make up over half our playing numbers," Pearson said.

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