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'They gave me a lifeline': Off-contract Burr keen to stay put

After heading to Auckland at the end of 2018 in a last-ditch bid to resurrect his NRL career, journeyman forward Lachlan Burr was finally on the verge of certainty in his career.

And then the coronavirus global pandemic has forced the Telstra Premiership to be suspended and he is again in limbo.

The 27-year-old is one of 12 Warriors off contract at the end of this season and said his preference is to remain in Auckland rather than seek a contract back in Australia.  

But like every player in the Telstra Premiership, his immediate playing future is up in the air after the NRL decided on Monday night to suspend the competition for an indefinite period.

Originally signed to add depth to the pack following the retirement of Warriors legend Simon Mannering and several other middle forwards, Burr became a mainstay of coach Stephen Kearney's pack last year and appeared 23 times at NRL level.

"The Warriors gave me an opportunity, a lifeline, and if they want to keep me around I'll be quite happy to stay," Burr told NRL.com.

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"Me and my missus have sort of made a home in Auckland. We have settled in quite well.

"I don't think I was expecting to play as many games as I did last year, but now that I have got the taste for it I'm enjoying it.

"I think I am fitting quite well in this team and hopefully I can stick around a lot longer.

"It's a good bunch of boys here and I like what Stephen is doing with the team."

In the absence of front-line prop Agnatius Paasi due to injury, Burr started in the front row in the Warriors' opening two games this season, averaging 60 metres gained and 27 tackles.

While Burr hit the ground running immediately after signing with the Warriors, it's been a different story for back-rower Leivaha Pulu who is also without a deal for next year.

Form struggles – combined with fracturing metatarsal bones in both 2018 and 2019 – has limited Pulu to 13 of a possible 48 NRL games over the past two years.   

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The 29-year-old was part of the club's available group in Australia but was overlooked for last Saturday's match against Canberra, with youngsters Eliesa Katoa and King Vuniyayawa the preferred options. 

"I'd be lying if I said getting a new contract wasn't on my mind, but for me it's just about putting my best foot forward and enjoying what I am doing," Pulu told NRL.com.

"It's head down arse up now, I just need to show my worth in every way ... I have worked a normal job before and I'd rather do this.

"The last two years have been quite challenging for me, especially with picking up injuries in both feet.

"But I have been through it before and through my faith and who I am it's something I have come out of before.

"I'm backing my ability."