Vodafone Warriors loose forward Todd Lowrie has returned to Australia after being granted a release from his contract on compassionate grounds.
Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club fully supported Lowrie and wife Sally in their need to relocate immediately.
“This is a case where family comes first for Todd, Sally and their young family,” he said.
“We’re disappointed to see him go. He has been really popular at the club and has made a fantastic contribution on and off the field but he has more important matters to worry about right now.
“We wish Todd and Sally all the best and just hope everything works out well for them.”
After NRL premiership success with Melbourne last year, Lowrie came to Mount Smart Stadium on a two-year contract.
“We love Auckland and had settled in well. It’s a great place to live and a fantastic club to be a part of,” said Lowrie.
“It’s really sad to be leaving so soon but family is the only consideration for us at the moment.”
In 21 matches this year, the 30-year-old Lowrie was one of the Vodafone Warriors’ busiest and most effective defenders, making 659 tackles, an average of 31.4 a game; only Nathan Friend, Elijah Taylor and Simon Mannering topped his numbers.