Friend might still stay at Warriors

AFTER looking likely to be squeezed out by salary cap pressures, Warriors hooker Nathan Friend is reportedly on the verge of accepting a big pay cut to stay at the club next season.

The 32-year-old was told six weeks ago the Warriors would not be taking up their option for one more season, and he was free to look elsewhere.

While he has had a couple of offers, Friend is understood to be keen to stay in Auckland with his young family.

Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said discussions with Friend's manager were ongoing.

"I would personally be delighted if he could stay with us. You wouldn't fault his effort and professionalism," Scurrah said.

The situation has arisen in part after the club signed Cronulla half Chad Townsend and England fullback Sam Tomkins. Townsend was expected to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves, with five-eighth Thomas Leuluai to move to hooker.

Friend is showing signs of wear and tear after 12 seasons in the NRL, but has played the last 17 games and averaged almost 47 tackles a game this season.

- APNZ



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