The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans have advised that the New Zealand Warriors will replace the Wests Tigers as the club’s opponents in a pre-season trial match in Lismore in February next year after the Tigers withdrew from the arrangement.

The Titans said that due to a misunderstanding in the revised terms of the agreement between the two clubs, the Tigers withdrew because an appearance fee could not be guaranteed by moving the game to a regional venue with a capacity of only 8000 fans.

However, a full-strength NRL trial match will still go ahead as planned at Lismore’s Oakes Oval on February 28, with the Warriors agreeing to travel across the Tasman in what will mark the final pre-season hit-out for both clubs.

Tickets which have already been purchased for the trial match will remain valid, however, a refunds policy will apply for fans who no longer want to attend the match. Fans in that situation need to contact the Lismore Workers Club.

“There was a misunderstanding regarding the revised terms of the agreement after both clubs initially agreed to move this year’s trial to Lismore so people in country NSW could attend the game,’’ said Jetstar Titans managing director Michael Searle.

“Whilst it is somewhat disappointing the Tigers have had to withdraw, it is great the Warriors have been able to agree to terms at short notice which will enable the Titans to fulfil our commitment to bringing top-flight rugby league to the Northern Rivers region.

“The Titans have made this decision in the best interest of grassroots rugby league as all the proceeds are reinvested back into the local junior and senior rugby leagues in our catchment areas.’’

The Titans and Tigers were scheduled to play for the annual Larry Corowa Shield in Lismore. However, the Titans intend raising the possibility of still playing for the Shield when they clash in a premiership match in round 25 next season.

“Our club now intends to ask the Tigers to consider if they will allow the Larry Corowa Shield to become an annual premiership game clash,” Mr Searle said.

“The concept was first floated by former Tigers CEO Steve Noyce late in season 2007 to acknowledge the role Larry played at the Tigers as well as his involvement in the game on the Gold Coast and in northern NSW.  

“The Warriors showed last year they are a genuine top-four contender for 2009 and it will be a full-strength Titans and Warriors clash that takes the field on February 28.”