The Warriors admit they were caught off guard by Shaun Johnson's request for a release.
The halfback was granted one, after meeting with senior club figures last week.
General manager Brian Smith told the Radio Sport Breakfast they had hoped to discuss where-to-next for Johnson within the club.
"We didn't expect that for a response to what we were hoping would be a discussion with the future with him. We were surprised but not shocked."
Smith says the club isn't as competitive without Johnson, who last weeked signed up with the Cronulla Sharks last week.
Smith says losing a player of that calibre is significant, given their current status in the NRL ranks.
"Maybe not quite win a premiership, but we felt we were moving towards that. And now it;s the job of me and the other executives to make sure that we've re-established ourselves at least at that level."
The team is eyeing the Melbourne Storm as who they would like to emulate in 2019.
Smith says the Storm went on to make this year's grand final.
"They came up with a method that most clubs wouldn't have the kahunas to do. They used two or three guys in that role, and that's something that could come up for us as well."
Chanel Harris-Tavita, Hayze Perham or new recruit Adam Keighran are all halfback options.
LISTEN TO BRIAN SMITH TALK WITH RADIO SPORT BREAKFAST