One more season for Stacey Jones?

The Warriors are expecting veteran halfback Stacey Jones to announce that he will remain at the club for another season within the coming weeks after utility Nathan Fien was released early to join St George Illawarra.<br><br>While the club has been reluctant to pressure the 33-year-old into making an early decision in his first season back from a 12-month retirement, coach Ivan Cleary is growing increasingly confident that Jones will sign a new deal sooner rather than later.<br><br>“There is nothing concrete yet but I think he is pretty happy and is enjoying himself,” Cleary said.<br><br>“I’ve spoken to him a little bit about and I’m hopeful.<br><br>“Certainly there will be a decision made pretty soon.”<br><br>Jones himself has remained tight-lipped about his playing future and didn’t return calls this morning.<br><br>But with Fien having already departed, chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club was keen for Jones to let them know his plans for 2010.<br><br>“We don’t want it to get to the end of the season because that cuts you out of the rest of the market,” Scurrah said.<br><br>“We have looked at other players but the bottom line is that we would have to find someone better than Stacey – we’re not prepared to recruit just for the sake of it.”<br><br>Scurrah said Fien’s sudden departure this week wouldn’t impact on the timeframe given for Jones to make a decision on his playing future.<br><br>“We always said that we would give Stacey a big chunk of the season to see how he was enjoying his return to the NRL and we would speak from there,” he said.<br><br>“Nathan’s departure doesn’t really affect 2010.<br><br>“He had already signed a contract with the Dragons and it was a last-minute request from him and his agent late yesterday based on his desire to go where he thinks he has the best chance to play first grade this year.<br><br>“They asked for a release and we’ve done that.<br><br>“It gives Ivan a chance now to look at all of the guys that are vying for spots in 2010 and also for Stacey which is undetermined.<br><br>“We’ve got guys like Isaac John and Aaron Heremaia at the club so we’re looking forward now, but I would think that Stacey was very much in the frame for next year.”<br><br>In the meantime, Cleary has spent much of the week working on his side’s attacking woes.<br><br>The Warriors – rated among the premiership favourites at the start of the season – remain three points shy of the top eight and have scored just 61 points in their past five matches.<br><br>Incredibly, they haven’t scored 20 points in a game since their 24-22 loss to Newcastle in Round 5.<br><br>“We’re struggling for a bit of confidence at the moment,” Cleary said. “Certainly scoring points is an issue for us.<br><br>“Even in our last game we created plenty of opportunities but couldn’t finish them off so that’s where you look at the confidence.<br><br>“It’s one of those things that can turn fairly quickly but you’ve got have faith in what we’re doing and make some little changes.<br><br>“If you start looking too far ahead and make too many big changes you can find yourself going backwards.”<br><br>Cleary said he was still confident that his side could reach the finals after overcoming similar mid-season slumps in 2007 and 2008.<br><br>“It’s a little bit dangerous to compare seasons but I don’t think you’re ever too far away,” he said.<br><br>“Sometimes when you’re going well you’re not going as well as you think and sometimes when you’re going bad you’re not going as bad as you think.<br><br>“It’s an issue of confidence and momentum and we haven’t been able to get any momentum this season.<br><br>“Hopefully we can start to build some.”<br><br>The Warriors travel to Brisbane to take on an out of sorts Broncos side this Friday.