Sacked Warriors Will Never Play

Rising Warriors star Shaun Metcalf and his two team-mates will probably never play professional rugby league after their criminal convictions.

Melcalf, Kyle Donovan and Geoffrey Ruaporo were this week jailed for 18 months each in the Manukau District Court for trying to kill the unborn child of Metcalf's 15-year-old ex-girlfriend.

The youths, all aged 16 at the time of the attack, have been granted leave to apply for home detention.

This week the New Zealand Warriors terminated the contracts of the three who were development squad members.

Chief executive Mick Watson said he was appalled by what had occurred but was unable to suspend the players any earlier from playing because of employment reasons.

Mr Watson said if the players wanted to get back on the field once they finished their prison term the club would not discriminate against them.

But the youths' manager, former Kiwi and Warriors coach Frank Endacott said now they had a criminal conviction they could not travel overseas so a future in professional rugby league was unlikely.

Mr Endacott said he would stand by the players despite their convictions and would try to make special arrangements for them once their sentences were finished to see if there was any way they could play rugby league in Australia.

They were "three good kids who had done one stupid thing".

The termination of their Warriors contracts came several months after they withdrew from the New Zealand Rugby League's under-16s side while they were being investigated by the police.

New Zealand Rugby League general manager Peter Cordtz said they were told, in the circumstances, being in the team was not appropriate.

Although the trio had all been picked out as talented prospects, it was Metcalf who was earmarked for something special.

He won a scholarship to St Paul's College in Auckland and was the youngest selected for the Warriors development squad.

Coach Daniel Anderson furnished Metcalf with a written reference for his court case saying his character was professional as a rugby league player.

"In my observation it is a tragedy," he said. "I'm hoping the young lady has some closure."

A Warriors spokesman said the club had tried to contact the victim's family but they had not been receptive.

The club planned to send them a letter next week but the spokesman would not say what the letter would contain.