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The NRL should step in to fund Warriors junior development, says Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown has said that the Warriors should be receiving financial assistance from the NRL to help them to bridge the gap that they have to the rest of the competition in the wake of their Covid relocation.

Speaking on James Graham’s The Bye Round podcast, Brown explained how his former club had struggled as the pandemic put the kibosh on their junior development, and how their owner, Mark Robinson, had been forced to stick his hand in his pocket to keep their lower grades playing.

“This is only after experience being there and this isn’t me with a Warriors hat on, somewhere like the Warriors probably deserves more funding than other places because New Zealand is a country on its own,” said Brown.

“To have an individual owner that has to foot the bill for an SG Ball side, foot the bill for a reserve grade side – there’s not much expense here in Australia travel wise so I believe the game could help there a little bit because a strong Warriors would be great for the game.

“Finance is needed to do the things that the Warriors need to do. Robbo hasn’t shirked his hand once. As an individual owner, he’s never shirked his hand at what he’s needed to do as a commitment.

“But I believe the Warriors have had issues over time: different owners and changes of ownership. It would be great if Robbo could stay there for a long period of time to give them stability.

“It would be nice for the game to look at ways of giving them extra funding because they deserve it and need it. It’s very expensive to do the things that you need to do to become a powerhouse.”

Brown added that the potential pathway for Kiwi players was huge, and could be vital in keeping the talent pool deep as the NRL expanded to 17 and potentially 18 teams going forward.

“As we stand at the moment, there’s clearly not enough elite players in the game,” he said. “If we can help New Zealand develop more, we’ll have more players.

“There’s less players around than there was 15 years ago. It would be nice if we could put things in place to help there be more players so that the competition between the top and the bottom is closer.”

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