The Warriors have drawn up a wishlist of loan players to replace three homesick team members who are on the verge of quitting the NRL season.
Interim coach Todd Payten has revealed the Warriors issued NRL bosses with an ultimatum to get exemptions for families to join them in Australia by their round-10 match against Cronulla on July 19.
Payten said wingers David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo and prop Agnatius Paasi had become increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress, particularly as the NRL had told the club the exemptions would be achievable before they agreed to base themselves in Australia.
In a teleconference on Saturday, NRL bosses Peter V'Landys and Andrew Abdo told the players the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne hadn't helped the club's cause in getting trans-Tasman travel clearance.
While V'Landys vowed to pursue new means of getting the families across the Tasman, the players decided it was time to set a deadline.
"There was a lot of talking. In the end we basically told them that they've got 23 days at that moment to get it sorted," Payten said on Wednesday.
"If they didn't get any clarity or give our lads a definite answer, they will be able to go home the day after the Sharks game."
Warriors chief executive Cameron George said over the weekend that four players, including forward Leivaha Pulu, would consider their options.
Payten said he was only aware of three and that the rest of the squad had committed to staying at their Terrigal base at this stage - two months into their Australian vigil.
The Warriors' family applications would be among thousands assessed by government authorities, leaving Peyton reluctant to blame V'Landys.
"He said everything happening in Victoria is not helping our situation," Peyton said.
"He has reapplied and is taking it higher up the food chain so to speak. He also mentioned a possible bubble opening up between Queensland and Auckland.
"From our end, the frustration was more around there had been plenty of talk but no real resolution.... we've only got 20 days to go."
Peyton said it was prudent to begin formulating a list of loan player candidates, under the assumption that Fusitu'a, Maumalo and Paasi will depart.
"It'd be idiotic to leave it until they go and then get caught with our pants down," he said.
"There's a list being looked at daily. If we haven't heard anything within a week, we've got to, I guess, push down that path a little bit further."
The Warriors have already called on two front row loan reinforcements this year because of injuries, adding to many disruptions, including the surprise sacking of coach Stephen Kearney.
Australian Associated Press