The Warriors say rising star Kevin Locke's demotion from the National Rugby League side has nothing to do with the player being at the centre of a sexual assault investigation.
The club revealed that the 22-year-old Locke has been interviewed by police over a sex assault allegation, with Locke strenuously denying any wrongdoing.
Having originally been named on the Warriors' bench to play the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium tonight Locke instead turned out for the club's second side the Auckland Vulcans in the curtain-raiser.
The club says the decision to demote Locke was made on Wednesday evening and was purely a strategic move, with coach Ivan Cleary recalling Lance Hohaia after he'd overcome a minor knee complaint.
Hohaia was one of several first team regulars to pay the price for the Warriors' shocking start to the season by being dropped for last week's win over Cronulla.