The Warriors still have plenty of money to spend in 2019 — and the signing of Kodi Nikorima may not be the end of their recruitment this year.

The perception that they have exhausted most of their reserves in luring the Kiwis half isn't quite right.

Sure, his two and a half year deal at Mt Smart is a sizeable one, estimated to be worth around $550,000 a season.

But the Warriors will be paying the first year of his contract on a pro-rata basis. With the NRL calendar year running from November 1, it means the Warriors will only pay six months of Nikorima's salary in 2019.


That means that the vast majority of the money freed up by Shaun Johnson's departure (the popular No 7 had a contract worth around $1.1 million annually) is still available to the Warriors, should other opportunities arise.

Nikorima is a key signing this year, but don't discount the possibility of another, as they still have between $500,000-$600,000 in their war chest, a luxury that most other clubs can't contemplate.

However, Nikorima takes the Warriors' final spot in their top 30 list, meaning that any new arrivals will be via a trade.

But that's not out of the question, especially if the Warriors feel they are overstocked in one position, and vulnerable in another. And as the June 30 transfer deadline looms closer, some clubs will need to get money out of their salary cap, either by moving on players or trading some positions.

It leaves the Warriors in a position to strike, if they can structure the right deal.

If they can't, the unspent money won't go to waste. It can theoretically be used to 'pay forward' some 2020 salaries, which would then free up some cap space for next year.

Nikorima is the 20th player brought to the club in the Stephen Kearney era — and could prove to be one of the most important signings in that time.

His running game will offer a vital point of difference; not just in the halves but across the whole backline, as this current Warriors team is overly blessed with pace.

Kiwis' Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima celebrate in the dressing room. Photo / Photosport
Kiwis' Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima celebrate in the dressing room. Photo / Photosport

He'll bring x-factor, and along with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke will be the player most likely to make a break when nothing looks on.

His combination with the above duo is an exciting prospect, while the increasing maturity of his game was exhibited on the Kiwis tour last year, as he was one of the best New Zealand players in the three test series.

Nikorima should also have a different platform to show his wares; his partnership with Anthony Milford at the Broncos always looked tricky, as they were far too similar in style, both dynamic runners with a freestyling game.

At Mt Smart Nikorima will have structure and organisation provided by Blake Green, giving him the chance to be the secondary play maker.

Green's presence will also be crucial on Sunday. His ability to control the tempo of a match and dictate play will be vital, along with his kicking game. The return of the Australian will also free up Chanel Harris-Tavita to play his natural style.

This Warriors team also has a better balance than in recent weeks, with Isaiah Papali'i in the second row, Adam Blair as an interchange middle player and a second prop on the bench, while Patrick Herbert's contribution will be closely monitored after his impressive debut in Melbourne.

The Warriors hope to continue a positive recent run against Newcastle in Auckland, with six straight wins at Mt Smart since 2013.