Off-contract Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson has dismissed suggestions he could leave the club to replace departing Melbourne Storm halfback Cooper Cronk next season.
Cronk's shock announcement yesterday that he will leave Melbourne and move to Sydney at the end of the season sparked discussions about potential candidates to fill his purple No7 jersey and the flow-on effects his move could have on other clubs and off-contract halves.
Johnson has been in talks with the Warriors since late last year about extending his time at the club and although an agreement has not yet been reached he brushed aside talk he could sign with last year's grand finalists.
"I've been tagged in numerous (social media) posts that I am going there, so people know that before I do apparently," said Johnson. "But no, that's not happening.
"I've been completely honest with the club about my options and they know where I stand.
"It's never about one thing. I'm in a position where I'm getting old now. And you've got to start thinking about the future.
"It's just about getting it right and that's all I can say."
Johnson joked he would go wherever his good friend and new Warriors halves partner Kieran Foran - who is also off-contract - decided to go beyond this season.
Foran starred in his Warriors debut in Sunday's 28-22 morale-boosting win over the Titans but his time in Auckland might be short-lived if he chose to return to Australia to be closer to his two young children.
The former Manly and Parramatta playmaker last month denied rumours linking him to a third-party approach to the Brisbane Broncos but his close relationship with Canterbury coach Des Hasler has inspired talk he could join him at the Bulldogs.
"I'll go wherever Foz goes," laughed Johnson. "Nah, it's all being sorted out. It's one of those things, I've said time and time again, you want to get it right.
"I'm in discussions with the club and hopefully we can come to an agreement soon."
The light-hearted talk continued when Johnson remarked his future at the Warriors could be settled quickly if Foran also committed to stay at the club.
Both players are capable of commanding seven-figure salaries but the Warriors are desperate to sign them long-term and keep them at the centre of their all-Kiwis test spine, between hooker Issac Luke and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
"Of course they can," Johnson's replied when asked if the Warriors had the cash reserves to retain the pair. "[Foran re-signing] would definitely help the situation. You want to play with the best players and he's definitely one of them.
"It's no secret how good a mate he is to me and you want to play with your mates. I'm sure, not just me but the club in general, would love to have him stay on for however long he wants."
The pair took limited part in today's training in wet conditions at Mt Smart Stadium, with Foran continuing to manage a hamstring strain and Johnson recovering from a knock to his leg.
Forward pair Bodene Thompson (bruised heel) and Jacob Lillyman (hamstring) were also on restricted duties but the latter was running freely and completed the session alongside the rest of NRL squad.
Vice-captain Simon Mannering was given a day off his feet and completed a gym session instead, but coach Stephen Kearney expected all five players to turn out in Sunday's home game against Parramatta.
"A few guys have a few bumps and bruises and that's the case every week," said Kearney. "Jacob warmed up with that (rehab) group but he jumped in for the rest of the session. And Shaun just took a whack on his legs."
Both sides have two wins under their belt after five rounds with the Warriors looking to go back-to-back while the visitors are desperate to halt a three-game losing run.