Off-contract Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson says new halves partner Kieran Foran has shown him what the underachieving NRL club has lacked in recent seasons.
Foran's debut club outing helped bring out the best in Johnson, while also lifting the rest of the team, in last week's morale-boosting win over the Gold Coast Titans.
Both players are off-contract and in demand with rival Australian clubs, but after just one club game together, Johnson has declared Foran as the player to help drive the Warriors to the next level.
"Playing with Foz on the weekend has really opened my eyes to what this club has missed over the years I've been playing," Johnson told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch.
"It's opened my eyes to we've really missed - another established halfback and another established voice that has that will to win, has that competitive nature, that can really drive and lift a side.
"And that's no disrespect to the halves that are coming through. But if you look at the sides that win comps, they've got a spine with halves that are really established."
The uncertainty around Foran's situation is posing a conundrum for the Warriors, beyond who will wear the No6 jersey next season.
Foran's two young children remain in Sydney and a desire to be closer to them could see the 26-year-old return across the Tasman at the end of the year.
His decision could impact on Johnson's future, as he weighs up the pros and cons of staying loyal to the club or leaving Auckland to chase premiership success elsewhere.
If Foran chooses to remain at the Warriors, Johnson admits his decision to re-sign would be an easy one, but should his good mate decides to leave, there could be major repercussions.
"Yeah, it would (make his own decision easier). Definitely," he said.
"Just having both of us out there echoing the same thing, you want to be a part of that.
"I want to play with the best players, you want to play with your mates, and Foz ticks those boxes.
"I'm not saying that if Foz leaves that I'm definitely gone. It's not about that at all. But certainly, Foz, we'd be very happy to keep him.
"Foz and I have had plenty of chats about what we want to do next year and whether we're going to be able to do it or not.
"That will all pan out over the next couple of weeks."
With Foran's arrival completing the Warriors all-Kiwis test spine, and fellow test teammate Tohu Harris set to further bolster the side next season, Johnson is excited by the club's future prospects, and in an ideal world, he'd prefer to remain in Auckland around family and friends.
"I'd love to be a one club player," said Johnson. "I view the Warriors as a club I want to achieve success at and I genuinely think that we can do it.
"They're putting the pieces of the puzzle in the right spots to create something, not just for one year but for multiple years, and I want to be a part of all that.
"But the other side of that is, if that success doesn't happen, am I happy going my career without winning a comp?
"So moving clubs, winning a comp with other clubs, does that mean as much to me as winning one at the Warriors? That's something I really have to think about."
He has options up his sleeve however, but won't reveal which clubs are in the running to sign him.
In the gossip-filled world of rugby league, such details rarely remain secret, but Johnson and his management have done a remarkable job in keeping that information private.
"I won't say what clubs, but I'm in a position where you're going to have to see what's out there aren't you?
"I've had chats with a club or two and so I know exactly what's there.
"There's pros and cons to everything you do and this just seems to be where I'm at, at the moment."