Cashed up Warriors reportedly identify Roger Tuivasa-Sheck replacement

Cowboys playmaker Scott Drinkwater has emerged as the Warriors’ first signing target for 2022 with the Kiwi club armed with a $1.1 million war chest.

The Warriors will farewell captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the end of the 2021 season after he accepted a huge pay cut to sign with New Zealand Rugby in the hope of playing in the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks.

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His departure reportedly clears a mammoth $1.1 million per year on the club’s salary cap — making the Warriors one of the biggest players in the NRL transfer market this year.

However, the club’s first target to replace him is far from a like-for-like option.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will see out the year with the Warriors.Source:Getty Images

Drinkwater has moved between fullback and the halves for the Cowboys and NRL.com now reports the Warriors are interested in snatching him away from North Queensland.

The Cowboys are also reportedly trying to hold onto Drinkwater, after the contract mess that will see Jake Clifford leave for Newcastle at the end of the year.

However, it seems unlikely the Cowboys will be able to compete with the war chest the Warriors are armed with.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten last year admitted the “Jake Clifford scenario” was not handled well by the club.

Cowboy Scott Drinkwater. Picture: Evan MorganSource:News Corp Australia

When the club’s reported talks with Wests Tigers legend Benji Marshall fell flat before the Kiwi signed with the Bunnies, Clifford was reported to be open to an early move to the Knights.

It leaves the Cowboys’ long-term plans for its halves pairing in doubt with Michael Morgan looking to recapture his best form.

Clifford was tipped to take the mantle of Cowboys’ chief playmaker following the retirement of NRL legend Johnathan Thurston, but has struggled to maintain a place in the starting side, making 35 appearances since his NRL debut in 2018.

He faces a challenge to get back into the starting side, sitting behind Michael Morgan and Drinkwater.

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