New Zealand Warriors recruit Kieran Foran faces a delayed start to the season as he tries to convince the NRL he is ready to return.
The playmaker signed a one-year deal with the Warriors in September, but the NRL is yet to register his contract.
Foran, 26, left the Parramatta Eels earlier this year amid personal issues, and he is still waiting for his return to be cleared.
"We are still working with the NRL," Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle told the Daily Telegraph.
"That's progressing well. That'll take a bit of time as we've always said it would do. Kieran is working continuously through some of the personal issues he's had.
"Every day, every week, every month he is getting better. He is heading in the right direction.
"We would anticipate that taking place next year. That process is ongoing."
The Warriors start their 2017 NRL season with a clash against the Newcastle Knights on March 5.