230 players have run out for the Warriors since the club's inception in 1995, across almost 600 matches. Now on the eve of the 25th season, a panel of experts rank the 25 best players to wear the Warriors strip.

The voting panel, comprising nine of New Zealand rugby league's sharpest thinkers, break it down. Here are the results.

25) Sam Rapira 2006-15 (173 games)

Slammin' Sam hit the line hard, but his body took a hit as well.

24) Dean Bell 1995 (19 games)

More players like the first skipper and the club wouldn't have ended up all at sea.

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23) Jerry Seuseu 1997-04 (132 games)

A testament to the local game — the old Lion Red Cup's finest moment.

22) Ivan Cleary 2000-02 (53 games)

Mr Steady and points machine in the first grand final side.

21) Monty Betham 1999-2005 (101 games)

More polarising than Brexit - made some judges' top five, and completely ignored by other panel members.

20) Sean Hoppe 1995-99 (88 games)

Try scoring and image integral to the crazy inaugural season magic.

19) Steve Kearney 1995-98 (79 games)

True professional in the topsy turvy world of New Zealand league - where would the game be without him.

18) Joe Vagana 1995-2000 (116 games)

The giant "baby" of the original Warriors - a handful when fit, which could be an issue.

17) Jerome Ropati 2003-14 (145 games)

Some what-ifs to his career, but versatile back won massive respect on and off the field.

Jerome Ropati of the Warriors dives to score a try in a 2012 game. Photosport
Jerome Ropati of the Warriors dives to score a try in a 2012 game. Photosport

16) Ben Matulino 2008-17 (212 games)

Ups and downs but at his best, no better prop in the game and double player-of-the-year winner.

15) Kevin Campion 2001-2002 (44 games)

Revered by many for putting the heart and hard into the first grand final side.

Kevin Campion celebrates a qualifying win over the Raiders in 2002. Photosport
Kevin Campion celebrates a qualifying win over the Raiders in 2002. Photosport

14) Micheal Luck 2006-2012 (150 games)

Spilt blood for the club, literally. No one gave more than the slightly built forward.

13) Logan Swann 1997-2008 (195 games)

Two spells and hardly missed a beat during some of the better years.

12) Awen Guttenbeil 1996-2006 (170 games)

Misfired as a youngster at Manly for a variety of reasons, but the great promise was fulfilled back in Auckland.

11) Francis Meli 1999-2006 (129 games)

Forever famous for scoring a five tries in a finals game against the Bulldogs — a record unlikely to be beaten.

Warriors winger Francis Meli dives into the corner to score a try against the Bulldogs. Photosport
Warriors winger Francis Meli dives into the corner to score a try against the Bulldogs. Photosport

10) Clinton Toopi 1999-2006 (129 games)

A rare thing — a fantastic Warriors centre.

9) Steve Price 2005-2010 (91 games)

The famous metre eater. The Queensland and Aussie forward was also a vital PR presence through tough times for the club.

Warriors prop Steve Price takes the ball forward in the 2008 season. Photosport
Warriors prop Steve Price takes the ball forward in the 2008 season. Photosport

8) Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2016 - (30 games)

Well capable of challenging Jones and Mannering one day as the The Greatest. The club's only Dally M winner.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck makes a break against the Titans last season. Photosport
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck makes a break against the Titans last season. Photosport

7) Lance Hohaia 2002-11 (185 games)

Mr Versatile. Played every position possible for a little bloke, and usually with great effect.

Lance Hohaia makes a break and heads for the tryline against the Tigers in 2011. Photosport
Lance Hohaia makes a break and heads for the tryline against the Tigers in 2011. Photosport

6) Ruben Wiki 2005-8 (87 games)

The iron man who as a young man made headlines by signing for the Warriors and Raiders.

Ruben Wiki salutes the loyal Warriors' fans following a dramatic victory over the Melbourne Storm in 2008 Photosport
Ruben Wiki salutes the loyal Warriors' fans following a dramatic victory over the Melbourne Storm in 2008 Photosport

2011-18 (162 games)

Basketball analogies rule...if Ali Lauiti'iti was the Michael Jordan of League, then the Warriors also had their very own "Magic" Johnson.

No one has ever hopped, skipped and danced around a league field like Johnson. He often left the best defenders grasping at air.

Game management and defence were weak points, but he improved out of sight in those areas. Consistency remained an Achilles heel, and like too many great Warriors his exit from the club was messy.

But Johnson was a halfback excitement machine like no other in the NRL. The way he plays remains unique — he will not be forgotten.

1998-04 (115 games)

Among many members of the 2002 grand final side who made our top 25.

Lauiti'iti had a step and power. But what really set the big second rower apart was his offloading and creativity — at his best Lauiti'iti was unstoppable. He was named the NRL's top second rower in 2002 and tagged the Michael Jordan of League — comparisons don't come better than that.

A cyst on his left arm was problematic, his motivation apparently waned, and he was forced out of Auckland in extremely unfortunate circumstances.

But as our vote shows, the Ali Lauiti'iti aura lives on.

2004-2017 (226 games)

A runaway truck of a wing with a magic smile, who left an indelible impression on fans and opponents.

Big Manu was ahead of his time, ploughing through the middle of the field like an additional prop. But the touchline was his favourite territory, and he stormed over for tries at a rate of two every three games.

Like so many Warriors, he has his flaws. Vatuvei's hands could flap like sails in a wind, and his defensive reads were not always spot on.

But in the big picture of sporting lore, he is a much-loved giant.

2005-18 (301 games)

The opposite to Jones in many ways, a redoubtable forward who emerged from South Island rugby union.

The ultimate one club player, Mannering was a rock through many hard times and changes at the club. A rare reward was leading the club in the 2011 grand final, but frustration would have been a more constant companion — although he never let it show.

Unlike other members of our Top Five, Mannering got to leave/retire on his own terms, and on good terms.

As a player he had nicer touches than he got credit for, but his calling card was fighting for every centimetre of territory, giving his utmost in every run, every tackle, every play.

His bond with the fans grew stronger over time, his loyalty and utter professionalism revered even by those who saw limits to his game.

1995-2009 (261 games)

The first home grown Warriors superstar, and the legend only grows. The voting was neck and neck between Jones and Simon Mannering, with the Little General finishing on top by the narrowest of margins.

Halfback Jones led the club into its first grand final in 2002, and won the fans' hearts over many seasons with so many great moments, so many great tries.

There was a defensive weakness to his game, but he also epitomised what Auckland rugby league has always been about — flair and magic.

Jones was the perfect bridge to the new era in 1995, a product of the Auckland league heartland, a reminder of amazing players past, and an indication of the talent a New Zealand club could draw on.

The club's fortunes haven't panned out the way most hoped, which only means that the Jones star shines even brighter.

***

Voting panel

The major voting trends: Stacey Jones and Simon Mannering were placed in the top two by every judge, apart from one who had Mannering at three. At the end of the day, there was a clear Top Five consensus.

Brian McClennan
Former Kiwis and Warriors coach, Auckland captain, and old boy of the Mt Albert club which sparked the Warriors formation. TV league pundit and back coaching Hibiscus Coast, who he previously transformed into national champions.

Owen Wright
A 16-test Kiwis forward from the Otahuhu club, who also coached Auckland. Radio Sport commentator for hundreds of Warriors matches.

Luisa Avaiki
Captained the Kiwi Ferns to three World Cup victories. Inaugural head coach of the Warriors women's team. Former development officer for the champion Melbourne Storm, now with New Zealand Rugby League.

Frank Puletua
Auckland-raised Samoa forward who had long career with the Penrith Panthers, facing the Warriors about 15 times. Now the NRL's awards boss in Sydney, and also has an arts career.

Richie Barnett
Former Sharks and Roosters fullback, Kiwis captain, national selector, TV commentator and columnist. Emerged from the famous Otahuhu club.

Peter Urlich
Auckland identity, a musician and DJ who rose to fame as the frontman for Th' Dudes. A devoted league and Warriors fan who has managed the Pt Chevalier team.

Michael Burgess/David Skipwith
NZ Herald/NZME's Auckland-based league writers.

Brad Walter
Former Sydney Morning Herald league writer. Now with NRL.com. in Sydney.