CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 09: Issac Luke of the Warriors kicks the ball during the round 14 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the New Zealand Warriors at AMI Stadium on June 9, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Warriors hooker Isaac Luke is unlikely to be at New Zealand next season despite being one of their best players in 2018.

Although things could change, salary cap issues are the main reason the club will struggle to retain 31-year old, not being granted third-party luxuries like other clubs.

Despite already offloading some of their biggest contracts in Ryan Hoffman, Manu Vatuvei and Ben Matulino, the Warriors are still tied up in big pay packets to Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris, amongst others.

And as such, New Zealand cannot now offer him what they did to pry him away from the Rabbitohs. The emergence of Nathaniel Roache amid a growing depth of hooking stocks may also force Luke out of town.

“I’ve just got to let my game do the talking,” Luke told www.nzherald.co.nz.

“I just want to perform on the field. I don’t really want to think too much about my future, it’s something I will let my manager sort out with the club.”

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said the club was faced with a challenge to retain its quality players.

“It’s a difficult one,” Kearney told the Herald.

“It’s a process we are working through. We have got a couple of other guys, too, so it’s a situation where there are other pieces in the puzzle that we have to shuffle into place first.

“It will be a decision that will probably crystallise for both parties in a couple of weeks or so.”

Kearney admitted that the Warriors were financially capped with what they could offer.

“(The offer) will be different … different to what he is on. The decision might be taken out of my hands. The reality is, his expectation is one thing, and our position is another. A lot of times they don’t match at the best of times.”

 

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