Auto Poster James Gavet told by New Zealand Warriors he'd be stuck in reserves if he stayed


Sports Fan
Apr 23, 2013

James Gavet, left, has claimed the New Zealand Warriors forced his exit from the club.

Former New Zealand Warrior James Gavet says his move to the Newcastle Knights was forced by his old club threatening to drop him to reserve grade this season.

The blockbusting prop told the Warriors told him he would spend 2019 in reserve grade if he had stayed at the Warriors to see out a sizeable back-ended contract.

The 29-year-old signed with the Knights on a two-year deal in November after spending the early part of the off-season getting ready for the final year of his contract with the Warriors.

He started 17 of 19 games last season, but told the Warriors forced him out to alleviate salary cap pressure.

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"They said they were happy with me to play until the end of the season and then they ended up needing to push a couple of players out just because of couple new signings they had made, a few boys having their contracts upgraded including mine," Gavet said.

"I was going to be on close to double what I was on last year so I think it was just a safer option for them to free up some money.

"…It's a business at the end of the day and it's the way the cookie crumbles.

"I've been around the traps for a while so I hold no bad blood over it, but I was looking forward to that big contract coming into fruition after all the hard work I've put in.

"In the end they weren't too keen on me staying and if I stayed they said I'd have to cop a few things. They said I'd have to play in State Cup and that even after starting all year.

"They don't get rid of you but they force your hand and in the end they tell the media that 'he left and he was a bad trainer' and whatnot."

The Samoan international was dropped by the Kiwi franchise for their last regular-season game in 2018 after reporting late to training and club functions, but returned to the starting side for their finals loss to Penrith a week later.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George denied ill-discipline played a part in Gavet's release, and declined to comment on the prop's claims he was pushed out of the club or faced demotion to reserve grade.

"There's no drama from us in terms of James," George told

"I found James a terrific person. A good club man and obviously from the coach's perspective the opportunity arose with Newcastle and whatever discussions they had with him, it was the best option for him to go to Newcastle.

"That conversation [about Gavet's first-grade prospects] wouldn't happen with myself. Any conversation he had would've been with the coaching staff no doubt around the football side of things.

"From my perspective James was a terrific contributor to the club, he was a fan favourite and he did good things. I wish him all the best and I'm sure he'll do great."

Gavet has proven to be a late bloomer, with the Knights his fifth club of a 56-game NRL career, with 42 of those appearances coming for the Warriors since 2016.

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