Te Maire Martin is firming as the favourite to replace Kieran Foran at the Warriors.
It's by no means a done deal and nothing has been finalised, as was implied by several Australian media outlets yesterday, but Martin is the current favoured option among several halves the club is tracking.
The Auckland franchise have yet to make a formal offer to the 21-year-old, but have had detailed discussions with the player and his management team.
The Warriors are also in talks with some other playmaking options, and it depends which way the cards fall. Martin, after an impressive debut NRL season last year, seems to have fallen out of favour at Penrith and the Sydney club may even be open to a mid-season release.
Martin started the first seven games of the year but has since lost his spot to Bryce Cartwright.
Martin, who made his Kiwis debut in the ill-fated 18-18 draw with Scotland last year, has reportedly knocked back an offer from the Melbourne Storm and is understood to be open to a move back to New Zealand.
He's lightweight by league standards - at 1.81m and 87kg - but his play making and organising skills are highly rated by many NRL judges. Martin has only played 13 first grade matches, and doesn't offer the kind of experience that the Warriors have said they were going to target when Foran's decision was announced. But he has shown precocious maturity, exemplified by his debut against the Broncos last year, when he scored a crucial late try AND then snapped the match winning drop goal.
The Titans' Ash Taylor is also believed to be in the mix, though the chances of the Warriors luring him across the Tasman, given the interest of two of the big three Queensland clubs, seem remote.
Despite the ongoing pursuit of another option to partner Shaun Johnson, the club remains hopeful that Ata Hingano will stay. The 20-year-old is seen as a great option for the future but the Warriors can't afford to wait. They need success desperately in 2018, and don't want to burden Hingano will too much responsibility, too soon.
Hingano has had approaches from several other clubs, though the Storm interest - which resulted in the Tongan international being flown to the Victorian franchise last year to meet senior officials - has apparently cooled since the news of Cooper Cronk's impending departure.
Hingano has no immediate desire to leave Auckland, and realises that it will be difficult to crack a first grade spot across the Tasman next year. Therefore he may opt to continue his development in Auckland.