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Daily Telegraph

reporter Paul Kent says the Warriors should throw whatever money they are offering Shaun Johnson at his halves partner Kieran Foran in a desperate bid to keep the in-demand playmaker.


Both players are off-contract and un-signed beyond this year but Kent believes Foran is so vital to the Warriors' future prospects that the club should prioritise his signing over Johnson's.

If they are unable to keep the former Manly and Parramatta five-eighth, Kent says the Warriors should target off-contract St George Illawarra No6 Gareth Widdop to provide Johnson with another experienced organising halves partner.

"If I was the Warriors, I would take whatever Shaun Johnson's on and give that to Kieran and say 'mate, we're going to give you whatever we can for you to stay here'," Kent told Radio Sport.

"Because I think he's far more important to the Warriors chances of future success that Shaun Johnson, even though he's a dearly loved player at the club.

"I think he's a very good player but Kieran can turn you into an immediate premiership threat."

Foran has made only three appearances for the Warriors but his impact has been immediate, having steered the side to back-to-back wins over the Gold Coast and Parramatta before Saturday's 20-8 defeat to Canberra.

The 26-year-old's direct playing style and strong organising ability has helped reduce Johnson's responsibilities and allowed the halfback to play more of his natural running game.

Should the Warriors fail in their bid to keep Foran in Auckland, Kent believes Widdop possesses a similar skill-set that would nicely complement Johnson's razzle dazzle.

"If they don't get him (Foran), I think he's shown in his performances already this year that Shaun Johnson needs help around him," he said.

"He's a player who can come in, straighten the attack a little bit and also organise the team a little bit.

"Shaun Johnson, I think, when he gets a little bit weighted down by having to organise the team as well as just play (with) his own brilliance, I think he struggles a little bit with that.

"So I think that someone like Gareth Widdop, who was unwanted six weeks ago, is suddenly in popular demand now because he's shown what he can do with St George Illawarra.

"So I'd look at someone like him. You've got to find someone who can just basically steer you around the park and keep you honest. That's what the Warriors need more than anything, someone to just keep them in the game for the entire 80 minutes."

Foran is understood to have four clubs - Newcastle, Melbourne, Canterbury and Cronulla - interested in luring him away from the Warriors.

Johnson is also believed to have a couple of Australian clubs keen on securing his services, but is expected to remain in Auckland.