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Warriors start roster renos, keep Panther

Renovations to the Warriors’ NRL roster under Nathan Brown have already begun with the club signing Euan Aitken and Kane Evans for next season.

It follows a huge couple of days for the club in which Brown was appointed head coach for 2021, with Phil Gould signing on as a consultant.

The appointment of Parramatta prop Evans and St George Illawarra centre Aitken is two steps towards finalising a roster for next season, with more signings expected.

Aitken is believed to have signed a three-year deal which is yet to be announced by the club, but he took to Instagram to announce his move.

“Sadly my time at the Dragons has come to an end but I’m keen to finish the year on a high with my mates,” he said.

“Although when one door closes another one opens and I’m super excited to say I’ve signed with the @nzwarriors and can’t wait for the challenge that lies ahead.”

Evans will join on a two-year deal as he looks to reclaim a starting spot after struggling for game time at the Eels this year.

“Kane is a really important signing for us as he brings the size, leg speed and aggression that we are looking to add to our pack,” recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan said.

“With Ben Murdoch-Masila coming, the rise of young Eliesa Katoa, Jack Murchie joining us and now Kane it dramatically changes the dynamics of the squad.”

It comes as the Warriors missed out on the signature of Adam Elliott, who is expected to stay put at Canterbury.

Meanwhile, loan forward Jack Hetherington could still play for the Warriors again in 2020 despite an impending return to Penrith later this month.

Hetherington’s time at the Warriors was expected to be over when he copped a four-game ban for a high shot last weekend.

However it’s now believed he will see out his loan at the club for another two weeks, before returning to the Panthers for training.

The Warriors have, however, shown some interest in bringing him back to the club when his suspension ends after round 17.

The continuous switching of his home base is largely due to two reasons.

Firstly, Hetherington’s weekly wage of his $400,000 annual contract falls into the salary cap of whatever club he is based at, regardless of whether he is playing.

He is also still an option for both clubs towards the end of the year given he’s impressed for the Warriors, but would likely be the next man at Penrith if a forward goes down.

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