Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson admits he has been in touch with troubled Kiwis teammate Kieran Foran but denies he has been actively encouraging him to make the move to New Zealand.
Foran is reportedly eager to take up a one year deal with the Warriors next season and resurrect his NRL career in New Zealand away from the intense media glare in Sydney.
Foran was last month released from a multi-million dollar contract with Parramatta on compassionate grounds.
The 26-year-old is recovering from shoulder surgery that ended his NRL season and continues to work through a myriad of personal problems.
Warriors managing director Jim Doyle yesterday confirmed the club was interested in holding talks with the five-eighth once he was ready to consider his career options, but was adamant no formal offer has been tabled.
Johnson was guarded when asked about Foran potentially joining him in the halves at club level next year, after being privately briefed by the Warriors media manager prior to an all-in press gathering at Mt Smart Stadium today.
The No7 admitted he had been in touch with Foran recently, but insisted it was only to check on his personal health and well-being.
"I have spoken to him a little bit. I won't lie," Johnson said.
"That's just generally more as a mate...nothing about footy actually. Just letting him know I'm there for him.
"He's a really good player. Obviously he's dealing with a few other things at the moment.
"I'm not too sure how he's going there but any club would be lucky to have him."
The pair developed a close friendship during their time together playing for the Kiwis and enjoyed success with the 2014 Four Nations triumph and last year's Anzac test victory.
Johnson hoped Foran would resume his playing career sooner rather than later and said any NRL club would be fortunate to secure his services.
"I'm just like everyone, I hope he gets back on the field soon," he said.
"We talk a bit outside of the Kiwis. We spoke a lot after the Four Nations (2014), after the tests.
"We haven't spoken as much of late obviously with everything he's going through but there's been little bits of communication there."
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden reiterated the point that a player of Foran's ability would be of interest to the Warriors but was reluctant to discuss his potential signing.
McFadden declined to answer questions around what expectations and assurances the club would seek around Foran's heath and ongoing recovery.
McFadden's immediate attention is on preparing the ninth-placed Warriors for Saturday's must-win clash against reigning premiers North Queensland in Townsville, and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
It is understood Doyle, who shares a personal relationship with Foran that goes back to his time in charge of the New Zealand Rugby League, remains at the forefront of any communication between the out-of-contract player and club.
"I don't want to go there," said McFadden.
"He's a quality player so if there was an opportunity we'd be silly not to look at it.
"(But) I'm not really focused on that at all.
"We're trying to finish our season well and there's other people that take care of that."