The Warriors now have the most talented spine in the NRL. That is according to former player and NRL 360 host Ben Ikin, following the signing of Kiwis five-eighth Kieran Foran last night.
Pending a clearance from the NRL, Foran will resume his NRL career with the Warriors after signing a one-year deal with the Auckland-based club for next season.
After almost two months of negotiations, the Warriors beat several clubs, including the Bulldogs, Storm, Rabbitohs and Dragons, to land the signature of the former Manly and Parramatta playmaker.
Ikin said on NRL 360 last night that the signing gives the Warriors the best combination of hooker, halfback, five-eighth and fullback, known as the spine, in the game.
"I don't want Warriors fans to get too ahead of themselves for 2017 but Issac Luke, Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck... if that's not the most talented spine in the competition, then I don't know enough about footy," Ikin said.
"We saw what he did at Parramatta this year. He straightened them up. He toughened them up. What have we been saying all year that the Warriors need? Someone with a hard edge."
The signing follows a tumultuous year for Foran in which he quit the game after he was granted a release in July from his multi-million-dollar deal with Parramatta.
In April, the Ellerslie Eagles junior spent time in a Brisbane rehabilitation clinic as his life unravelled following the breakdown in his relationship with his former partner and mother of his two children, Rebecca Pope.
Co-host and Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent agreed the signing was a good thing for the Warriors and Foran.
"The Warriors are a good club for him next year. It gets him out of the environment he's in. Kieran, as tough as he is, is easily led by people. He just started a track, which we see a lot in the game, where he came to a crossroads where you should of gone left and you go right and it leads to one poor decision after another. The compounding effect has really knocked him around and really affected his life.
"The fact he's already thinking about football, and I know he's already putting a lot of work into his kicking game, just shows where is head is at. He's thinking about what he can improve, what he can bring to the Warriors, what they particularly need, so they are all positive signs," Kent said.
"If you were the Warriors and you had to go looking for one player it would be him first, then a backrower. If every player was on the market, you've already got a halfback and you needed a good, tough, honest five-eighth that would hold everyone accountable and they've got the perfect guy."
Kent added of the Warriors' spine for next year, Foran was the most important of the four Kiwi internationals.
"The best player out of the lot, the crucial player out of those four will be Kieran Foran. Because he will keep the other three honest.
"He will make them accountable for every minute of the game. Shaun Johnson can sometimes fall out of a game. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, I wouldn't say we falls out of the game but he could probably do a bit more activity at different times. Kieran will demand that of them."
In a press release announcing the signing last night, Foran said coming to Auckland was the best thing for him.
"I've had a lot of time to think about my future over the last few months," said Foran from Sydney.
"Initially, footy was the furthest thing from my mind and I needed time away from the game.
"More recently, the desire to play again has completely returned and I'm very keen to make a big contribution next year.
"While I had other options, coming to Auckland emerged as the best decision for me.
"Being in a new environment was important but I'm also incredibly excited by the potential of the club and the quality roster it has.
"I can't wait to be part of the team and I want to play a major role in 2017 in taking the club to the next level.
"I have so many people to thank for making this happen and for supporting me through what's been a tough period.
"Now I want to repay them. The Warriors have so much to offer and I'm looking forward to working with so many players I know from the Kiwis, as well as Mooks [new Warriors coach Stephen Kearney]."