The Warriors may yet launch a bid for Kieran Foran in the future but the club are adamant a new player in the halves is not their No 1 priority for the 2017 season.

The Bulldogs and the Roosters have already been touted as possible destinations for the Kiwis five-eighth in the future, in the wake of Foran's seemingly inevitable exit from the Eels.

That is assuming, of course, he has the desire and ability to return to the NRL. At the moment that is far from certain, as he deals with serious personal and health issues, and getting back on the field is, quite rightly, way down his list of priorities.

But if he becomes available in the future, interest from the Warriors can't be ruled out. They will be aware the Foran is more compatible with Shaun Johnson than probably any other half in the competition, and the two of them would bring out the best in each other.


Foran was one of the Auckland club's prime targets before he linked with Parramatta last year, and he has a close relationship with Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle.

But such a decision, given the delicate balance of the salary cap, comes down to one key question: What signing will have the biggest impact on the team? With Johnson, Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the ranks, the club feel that one - or possibility two - big signings in the forwards would have a greater incremental impact that adding to an already impressive spine.

While there is a recognition that going into 2017 without signing a direct replacement for Thomas Leuluai is a risk, it may be one they are willing to take to strengthen other positions.

A damaging, aggressive prop is top of the Warriors' shopping list. The club have the nucleus of a good front row, with the experience of Ben Matulino and Jacob Lillyman complemented by the youthful enthusiasm of the likes of Albert Vete, Sam Lisone and Tofa Sipley. But they are still lacking something, missing that fear factor that separates the great from the good in the NRL and takes the club to the next level. The Warriors are crying out for another Jerry Seu Seu or Ruben Wiki - a genuine intimidating enforcer among the props.

Back rower
Another priority area for the Warriors. Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering and Bodene Thompson have been among the Warriors' most consistent performers in 2016 but have similar qualities. The club need to find more attacking threat, specifically someone who can promote second-phase play.

The Warriors also need to future proof; Hoffman has only one more season on his contract before he is tipped to return to the Storm in a coaching role and Mannering and Thompson will suffer some attrition from the constant 80-minute demands every week. Sione Lousi has yet to prove he is a realistic long-term option and Shaun Lane hasn't done enough so far to warrant a contract extension. It's unknown if the luckless Ben Henry will return from his latest injury.

Outside backs
The Warriors may be in the market for an experienced outside back. David Fusitua's coming of age this season means he will be hard to leave out of the starting side in 2017. Once Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returns, Fusitua will be an automatic choice on one wing - leaving Manu Vatuvei and Ken Maumalo to fight for the other spot - or force either Blake Ayshford or Solomone Kata out of their centre position. The versatile Tui Lolohea offers another option.

Shaun Johnson will have his fifth halves partner in six years in 2017, after James Maloney, Chad Townsend, Leuluai and Jeff Robson. Lolohea deserves the chance to see what he can offer, and will be entering his third season of first grade. Ata Hingano is highly rated, but only 19 years old. There are limited options on the market, with Sam Williams (Raiders), Blake Green (Storm), Daniel Mortimer and Cameron Cullen (Titans) among them.

Off contract 2016
Ali Lauitiiti
Ben Henry
John Palavi
Jonathan Wright
Marata Niukore
Sione Lousi
Upu Poching
James Gavet *
Shaun Lane *
*Club has option for 2017

Off contract 2017
Ata Hingano
Albert Vete
Charlie Gubb
Ben Matulino
Mason Lino
Blake Ayshford
Bodene Thompson
David Fusitua
Erin Clark
Jacob Lillyman
Ligi Sao
Matt Allwood
Ryan Hoffman
Shaun Johnson
Toafofoa Sipley

Off contract 2018
Issac Luke
Jazz Tevaga
Ken Maumalo
Manu Vatuvei
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Sam Lisone
Simon Mannering
Tuimoala Lolohea
Nathaniel Roache

Off contract 2019
Bunty Afoa
Solomone Kata