Who is the most important player for the Warriors at the moment?

Not Shaun Johnson. It isn't Issac Luke nor Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, nor even Kieran Foran.

The most important player in the Warriors line-up right now is bargain-value prop James Gavet. The 27-year-old was a late addition to the Warriors roster last summer and played a handful of games, as he dealt with injury and a lack of form.

The former Bulldogs, Tigers and Broncos prop was surplus to requirements in the first three games of this season, but has been the standout player in the three games since and has been the catalyst to the team's two-game winning streak.


He is also off-contract at the end of this season and while the Warriors focus on re-signing Johnson and Foran, they could do worse than locking in Gavet for another year or two on a cheap deal.

Roger Tuivasa Sheck and James Gavet during Vodafone Warriors v Paramatta Eels. Photo/Photosport
Roger Tuivasa Sheck and James Gavet during Vodafone Warriors v Paramatta Eels. Photo/Photosport

It goes without saying the Warriors' best players are their highest paid stars - Johnson, Foran, Tuivasa-Sheck and Luke - but the key to unlocking those attacking stars is giving them a platform from which to operate. Without a decent platform, we won't see the best of a spine that rivals any in the NRL.

Based on the forward pack the club currently has and the performances it has delivered in recent seasons, it is hard to see the spine getting the quality ball that could allow them to be a force this year.

But Gavet has changed that in the time he has spent on the field over the past three weeks.

He was the standout in the loss to the Dragons, bending the line with his powerful charges. Not only does he bend the line, but he earns a quick play-the-ball as a result, and that is all Luke, Johnson, Foran and co need to create havoc.

It also means the other forwards need only continue that momentum when they run, rather than having to create it themselves.

Against the Titans, almost all of their scoring took place while Gavet was on the field, yet the Titans came back strong, when he took his stints on the bench. The same can be said of yesterday's win over the Eels.

People have questioned Issac Luke's form since coming across from the Rabbitohs last season, but his patchy form can be easily attributed to his limited opportunities to run. While Gavet has been on the park in the last three weeks, Luke has taken full advantage and looked back to his damaging best.

Likewise, Johnson and Foran are benefitting from the almost unseen work of Gavet.

At 27, it isn't like he's all of a sudden sprung from nowhere. Gavet began his career in Auckland, before moving around clubs in Australia, but struggled with consistency and he still has some areas of weakness in his game.

He fatigues quickly and can be targeted on defence, as he gets toward the end of a stint. He pushes the boundaries a bit with his aggression, but frankly, a bit of mongrel is what this Warriors team needs.

Gavet won't rank alongside Jesse Bromwich, Matt Scott or Aaron Woods as the best props in the game - he is far from it - but right now, he possesses a skillset this Warriors team desperately needs more of.

Foran will get a lot of the plaudits for the back-to-back wins against the Titans and Eels, and rightly so. He's played very well and the Warriors look a much more organised side with him at the helm, but Gavet's importance probably won't be noticed to the same degree.

The Warriors have got themselves back into a competitive space at 3-3 on the year, which looks a lot better than where they were a fortnight ago. They have played well the last two weeks, but if we examine the situation in more detail, it will show the wins came against two sides in the middle-to-lower part of the table, who were suffering with key players missing, and teams that don't possess highly-regarded forward packs.

They have had an incredibly friendly schedule, leaving New Zealand in only one of their first six games, and they've played some of the lower ranked teams.

I'd like to think the past fortnight has been a turning point for the Warriors, but we won't know whether it is or not, until they get through the next month, where the schedule becomes much tougher.

It starts with the Raiders in Canberra this weekend, before an Anzac Day clash with the Storm in Melbourne, a home game against the Roosters and away to Penrith.

If the Warriors have a winning percentage of 50% or better after that, I'll believe the hype and be more than happy to eat humble pie.