Townsend's future at Warriors unclear
The decision surrounding where Chad Townsend will play next year might yet be taken out of his hands, with the Warriors saying they may force him to see out his contract.
The 24-year-old is off contract at the end of the year, but the Warriors have an option in their favour to re-sign him which must be activated before Round 13.
Townsend appears to favour a return home to Sydney next season, where partner Marissa's mother has suffered a recent downturn in her battle with bowel cancer.
But Warriors managing director Jim Doyle confirmed the club wants to trigger the clause and keep the playmaker in Auckland beyond 2015.
"We are intending to take the option up on Chad because we would like Chad to stay," Doyle told NRL.com.
"The option is in our favour so if we take up the option then obviously we would then contract him for next year.
"But we want to work with him through the personal issue as well, to make sure we can provide him support and whatever we can.
"One of the things we have said as a club is that we don't want to go backwards, we don't want to release players and the club go backwards.
"For us it's the same as Sam Tomkins saying he wanted to go back to the UK. We said we won't allow you to while we have got you contracted unless first and foremost we get a suitable replacement, and secondly we get some level of compensation.
"I think it's important as a club we don't just allow players to leave."
While happy in Auckland, Townsend's personal circumstances are the most important factor in his thinking.
"Obviously with the situation I am in, anywhere in Sydney would be an option for me, but at the moment that's the issue I am trying to work out," the former Cronulla Shark said.
"I have got to take a lot of things into consideration at the moment outside of football, which is a tough position to be in.
"Going home [to Sydney] is a real option for me, and staying is also an option."
Townsend arrived at the Warriors last year as an unproven prospect, having played just 19 games for the Sharks across three years.
But alongside Shaun Johnson he has flourished, cementing his place at five-eighth and this year acting as the side's dominant half, clocking up more run metres, line breaks and try assists than Johnson.
A return home to Sharks is the most likely option should Townsend move on, but Manly and Parramatta have reportedly also expressed interest in his signature.
"I have been speaking to the Warriors for a number of weeks and they are keen to keep me, it's just something that I need to sit down and talk about," Townsend said.
"My manager called me and said he will get back to me in the next week or so and we will go from there.
"I've said it all along, my time here at the Warriors has been a really good one, and I have loved the experience of living over here and playing for the Warriors.
"They gave me an opportunity to come over here, I took it as a chance and grabbed it with both arms and they have been great to me. If I was to move back home it would be for reasons outside of football."