30 Apr 2018

Warriors ownership set to change hands within days

9:17 am on 30 April 2018

The ownership of the Warriors looks set to be kept in New Zealand.

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Photo: PhotoSport

Auckland Rugby League, through the Carlaw Heritage Trust formed out of the sale of Carlaw Park, have got an agreement for sale in place with the team's majority owner Eric Watson.

Reports had surfaced early this month that a different group - largely former professional athletes led by Richard Fale and based in Hawaii - had reached a verbal agreement to buy the club.

The sale to the Hawaii consortium - for somewhere in the region of $24 million - had reportedly been waiting only for a final decision from Watson.

While that deal appeared to have fallen through, former Kiwis coach and a Warriors supporter Graham Lowe said the new one should be finalised in the next few days.

"They should be able to come out with a press conference over the next day or so," he said.

Eric Watson.

Warriors owner Eric Watson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He could not say how much time it would take to get the deal over the line, or put a price on the sale.

"It's not my role to discuss the financial terms of it, I'm sure at the appropriate time the chairman McGregor will answer any such questions.

"Like everyone you're hoping that it's going to be sooner rather than later but I can't put an exact time on it. These guys when they start fiddling round with their pens sometimes they get it through quick sometimes they take longer but it's due in the coming days that's for sure.

"Obviously the chairman Cameron McGregor can't say anything until all the 'i's are dotted and 't's crossed but, you know, the major hurdle has been overcome and it's only a matter of time before the agreement comes out.

Former New Zealand Kiwis Graham Lowe

Former Kiwis coach and a Warriors supporter Graham Lowe was brought in to advise on the sport-related management of the team. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He said he had been brought in to offer some pointers.

"Cameron asked me to just come in and look at a few things on the football side of the business and offer some opinions and recommendations which I've done, nothing too radical or anything like that.

"This isn't a matter of catch and burn all that sort of stuff this is just about a smooth transition that suits the grass roots of the game here and offers the young kids who are playing the game a genuine pathway to the professional side of Rugby League.

He said the buyers were aiming for a smooth changeover, and were focusing on the team winning the NRL.

"Every organisation has a philosophy that may be somewhat different from an existing one, and I know that everybody I've spoken to is looking for a smooth transition and focus on actually winning the NRL, that's got to be the main objective.

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