TKV rugby league president Nooroa Roi said financial constraints forced the team to cancel the trip.
The club will lose the match points at stake and will face a monetary fine from the Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA).
Roi said they would have loved to battle the Sharks at their home ground but circumstances forced them to choose otherwise.
“We don’t have the money. It costs about $8000 to $10,000 just to go there, play a game and return back to Rarotonga the next day. We don’t have that kind of money,” Roi said. “We are still fundraising for the season.”
Roi said they were OK with the penalties imposed by the CIRLA for forfeiting a match in the domestic competition.
“I understand the fine for forfeiting a match was $1500, which has been amended to $200. We will also lose the match point,” he said.
“To the Sharks officials, players and supporters, we are sorry, but we look forward to them coming over in the second round. We will make sure that we host them very well.”
The new-look Warriors have struggled to stamp their mark in the 2018 competition under new coach Nia Petero and the new management.
The club have lost to both Tupapa Panthers and the Avatiu Nikao Eels in their two matches so far. They were on a bye last week. Roi said they have a two-year development plan in place to make the Warriors one of the best in the competition.
“We have a very young team who are part of the two-year development plan. We are using this season to build up for next year. There is also a new executive who started with zero dollars in the bank, so it’s a work in progress for us.”
Meanwhile, two exciting premier matches are scheduled for tomorrow. The high-flying and undefeated Panthers will host defending champions Titikaveka Bulldogs, who is also undefeated, at Victoria Park.
In the other match, points table leaders Eels will travel to Arorangi to take on the competitive Bears in another interesting tussle. The reserve matches at both venues will kick off at 3pm before the premier games at 4.30pm.
The junior development matches in the under-11, 13 and 15 grades will be held from 11am to 1pm.