O'Sullivan new recruitment manager in NZ
The Warriors have agreed to terms with controversial talent scout Peter O'Sullivan and are confident the NRL will grant approval for him to return from an indefinite ban for breaches of the game's betting rules.
O'Sullivan has not worked in rugby league since he was deregistered by the NRL at the end of 2016 following an investigation into a breach of the league's betting rules and his financial dealings with punter Eddie Hayson.
O'Sullivan is renowned as one of the best talent spotters in the business having built champion rosters at the Storm and Roosters, and discovered superstars including Greg Inglis, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Latrell Mitchell.
Manly hierarchy recently met with O'Sullivan about joining their own backroom support staff for Trent Barrett.
But with the Warriors first raising the prospect of O'Sullivan's return with NRL HQ some months ago, the Kiwi franchise expects the ban to be lifted and formally approve his registration.
"This is role that is crucial to our future and we certainly believe Peter brings a lot to the table in regards to that," Warriors CEO Cameron George said on Tuesday.
"We've agreed to terms with Peter and it now sits with the NRL for registration as every other employee of every NRL club does and we will wait for that to happen before he can commence work.
"We did our due diligence in terms of what has happened in the past.
"It's been dealt with from the National Rugby League, they've obviously taken whatever action they believed was appropriate but more importantly they've advised myself that he's welcome back in the game, and that process is being undertaken now in terms of his registration.
"The due diligence I did was very positive."
An NRL spokesman told NRL.com that the governing body has "been in discussions with the Warriors but (O'Sullivan) hasn't been registered at this stage".
O'Sullivan will be based in Auckland and given a mandate to keep New Zealand's best and brightest across the ditch after increased raids from Australian clubs.
The Warriors have enjoyed a strong start to 2018 thanks largely to the influence of recent recruits Adam Blair, Tohu Harris and Blake Green, while some crucial retention calls will also rank high up on O'Sullivan's agenda given veterans Simon Mannering and Issac Luke come off contract at the end of the season.
"It's about finding the best talent we can to fill the positions that we have available," George said of O'Sullivan's role.
"If that's local talent, we need to identify them and then we need to retain them throughout our development programs and if it's offshore talent that we're bringing into this club, it's making sure we get that at the right price and it's valued right in terms of our salary cap."
Coach Stephen Kearney's relationship with O'Sullivan stretches back to his time as an assistant coach at Melbourne and backed his new man to get the best out of one of the NRL's most productive nurseries.
"I'm really pleased, I've had a pretty long relationship with Pete,"Kearney said.
"Part of his role is identifying talent and he's been doing it for other clubs over the years and it's good to have him here and keep that talent here and build a program to help develop them."