High expectations surround the Warriors' new NRL season but vice-captain Simon Mannering is calling for patience from fans and critics ahead of today's round one opener against Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium.
Confidence is high within the team that they can deliver on the potential that went unrealised last year when a delayed start for former playmaker Thomas Leuluai and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's season-ending knee injury prevented their first-choice spine from taking the field together.
New coach Stephen Kearney has stuck with the same starting side for today's clash that overcame the Gold Coast 26-6 in their final trial in Palmerston North two weeks ago, which was the first time the group had played together.
But with young five-eighth Ata Hingano set to add to his two first grade appearances before Kieran Foran begins his time in Warriors colours in round three, Mannering expects it will take time for combinations to gel.
"You always want to hit the ground running but we've only had the one full game together as this starting team," said Mannering.
"It is exciting to be playing and to have good numbers of us on the field but there's still a little bit of the unknown going into round one.
"We know we've prepared well but through the early rounds there's usually guys still finding their feet in some way so you don't want to make too many promises going in.
"We've just got to try our best to implement the things we've worked on through the pre-season and perform that on the field under pressure which I'm sure we're going to have a lot of against the Knights."
With new skipper Tuivasa-Sheck and hooker Issac Luke both fully fit, the Warriors attack is set to broaden beyond Johnson's individual exploits. And although their attacking options appear limitless, their ability to execute the basic areas of the game will determine how successful they are in the coming weeks.
"Through these early rounds we've got to make sure we're doing those basics well," he said.
"That's what's going to get you in a good position to get the results especially when everyone's still finding their feet with combinations."
Mannering, who is just four matches away from topping Stacey Jones' club record 261 NRL appearances, says the changes to the club's coaching staff have helped his motivation going into his 13th campaign.
Kearney's appointment and the retention of former head coach Andrew McFadden alongside new assistants Steve McNamara and Jones, has provided a boost for him and other senior players. Having a young family has also changed his perspective on what he does for a living and added to his personal drive.
"It has [new coaching set-up] definitely brought a bit of an injection of life amongst some of us older guys and a few changes does that.
"You get older and then external stuff with family changes your priorities but also adds so much it's unbelievable. You get a real sense of how lucky you are to be doing what you're doing and you appreciate it so much more," said Mannering.
"It's exciting to see young guys coming through and then new coaches come in and it all gives you a bit of a boost."