Warriors CEO Cameron George has taken a parting shot at departing star Shaun Johnson, suggesting he failed to live up to his high salary.
George announced yesterday that Johnson would be granted an early release from his contract with the Warriors, effective immediately.
This was after Johnson, who signed a two-year million-dollar deal with the club in 2017, requested the release on Tuesday.
The search for a new halfback swung into action almost instantly after the release papers were signed, with Parramatta young gun Dylan Brown believed to be at the top of the club's list, as reported by the Herald.
George appeared to take a dig at Johnson, saying he expects his replacement to play to their "maximum".
When asked if he was referring to Johnson's inconsistency and failure to live up to his price tag, George told New Corp Australia: "Look, I have no doubt the coaching staff had been working with Shaun around his performance, particularly consistency.
"I think without a shadow of a doubt that has been an issue that is apparent and that has been addressed by the coaching staff from time to time.
"In my personal view, I think that has been certainly an issue that has presented itself for a while now.
"We need consistent performances and therefore we need consistent individuals, and not everyone has been doing that."
The Warriors boss revealed that Johnson's teammates were informed by head coach Stephen Kearney, with George joking that it was fortunate the team had a yoga session afterwards to "relax a little bit after getting that news", reports AAP.
However, George expected the team to bounce back quickly and expects senior players to have a role in deciding who fills the gap left by Johnson.
"They'd be mad not to talk to the leadership group, I've got no doubt they will," George told AAP.
"They'll be disappointed because Shaun's been a big part of their lives.
"They've grown up with Shaun but it's also another example of what this competition's like.
"It's really important the guys bounce off the back of this adversity and show our fans that we're not going to miss a beat."
Johnson spoke out for the first time last night after requesting his release from the Warriors, with a heartfelt post on Instagram thanking the club, his fans and supporters.
"Maaan where do I start? What a crazy couple of days it's been," Johnson wrote on the social media site, along with a picture of himself signing the release.
"By now you all know I have been granted a release. (Pics of me signing it)
"To think my time at Mt Smart playing for my hometown team has officially come to an end is one of mixed emotions.. Thank you to the boys and everyone thats been involved with the Warriors over the past 8 years. I really am grateful and will never loose [sic] sight of how different my life could be if it wasnt for all of you."