Versions of "no Simon Mannering — no chance" will accompany the Warriors as the annual guessing game about their NRL prospects starts 5500km away in Perth tomorrow night.

The arrival of Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku and Blake Green has pushed up optimism about the club's prospects alongside the headline acts of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Shaun Johnson but that concept is a shredded pattern for professional league and rugby in Auckland.

For the past six seasons, the Warriors and the Blues have sagged in the bottom half of their competitions as theories expand about the reasons behind their failures.

No wonder most NRL pundits across the ditch have dismissed the Warriors chances of making the playoffs this season. They've lost Mannering to a shoulder injury for the first few games before they run into the Roosters, Cowboys, Broncos and Storm from round four.


They open up against the Rabbitohs, who have Greg Inglis back in their lineup and playing in the centres as league welcomes improved opportunities in the west after the Force were removed from the Super Rugby series.

With no Super Rugby and the AFL yet to start in the west, heavy crowds are tipped for league's double-header at Perth's new 60,000-seat Optus Stadium where the usual diehard dollop of New Zealand optimism will face transtasman skepticism about the Warriors' impact.

Nine defeats to end the Warriors' campaign in 2017 reinforces suspicions about their ability to take a cut at the competition and go the distance. What else, other than an enduring passion for the five tackle-kick game and unyielding support shown by the Mad Butcher, suggests any change to the template?

Nine defeats to end the Warriors' campaign in 2017 reinforces suspicions about their ability to take a cut at the competition and go the distance.


Signing Kieran Foran delivered a quality player last season but with his demons and injuries he was the one needing stacks of rehab and restoration and that was not a recipe for the Warriors' revival.

Now it's Blake Green. He's an experienced five-eighth who may offer the steady control the team needs to allow Johnson to freewheel his way around the track. That's the gist of the talk doing the rounds, that Green will be the yin to Johnson's yang in much the same way he helped Daly Cherry-Evans last season at Manly.

But why has Green been at eight clubs in 12 seasons and the Storm and Manly in the past two before pushing off to the Warriors? Why don't clubs push harder to keep him on their rosters?

Harris brings the best sort of pedigree after starting as a teenager with the Storm and playing a strong role in last year's grand final triumph. He learned his craft from coach Craig Bellamy and an array of the most talented and industrious players in the NRL and, still in his mid-20s, is pushing high standards.

Family ties have pulled him back to New Zealand and the intrigue will be whether he can retain his cutting edge and transfer his ability to the Warriors — and how Stephen Kearney uses him.

At his best Harris has the skill to rival Mannering and with the club record-holder sidelined for Perth, where better to test his attitude, ability and all the other ingredients the Warriors need to bake a decent start to the season?