Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson has voiced his support for the club's new owners as he prepares to return from a groin injury in Saturday's NRL clash against Wests Tigers.
Johnson was one of several players hit with a barrage of questions regarding the change in ownership at the team's weekly media session yesterday, less than an hour before it was publicly announced that long-time owner Eric Watson had sold the Warriors to a joint partnership between the Carlaw Heritage Trust and Autex Industries.
The 27-year-old revealed the players and club staff had earlier been briefed by Autex owner Mark Robinson and managing director Robert Croot and said he was pleased two Auckland-based entities had united to take control of the Warriors.
"I like the sound of that," said Johnson.
"It's nice to know that we've got people that are willing to put their hand up that are locally based and that shows me that there's a genuine care for the club and that's all we ask for."
The long-running saga of the club's sale has dragged on since last August, but the Kiwi international insisted it had not been a distraction for the team as they carved out their best start to a season in the club's 24-year-history.
The third-placed Warriors have lost just two of their first eight matches and sit level with the second-ranked Panthers on 12 competition points.
The Stephen Kearney coached side are now aiming to bounce back from their 50-10 Anzac Day thrashing at the hands of Melbourne against former Warriors coach Ivan Cleary's fifth-placed Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium.
"As a group, the only thing we can control is what we do out here and how we perform in the weekends," he said.
"[The owners] told us that they were pretty happy with how we're going and that's all we've got to worry about it."
Robinson felt his first address to the team had been positive after giving the players his assurance that the new owners had no immediate plans to disrupt the club on or off the field.
Autex and the Robinson family have enjoyed a long association with the national game and provided support and sponsorship at all levels from grassroots, to the Warriors and the Kiwis test team over the last 30 years.
"It went really well," Robinson said.
"I talked to them about the history of Autex and what we're here for and gave them the confidence that the board and two partners in the business will give (Warriors CEO) Cameron George all the support and that he's running the club."
Meanwhile, after missing the last two games against the Storm and Dragons, Johnson feels he is close to being back to full fitness and expects to handle the goal-kicking duties this weekend.
"I've had a couple of good week's training now and I'm feeling fit.
"I'm not thinking about it when I'm out there. I feel confident to push off either side and push through the line so I'm feeling good.
"I'll do some (goal kicking) work at the captains run and I'll be kicking this weekend."
The injury flared up earlier in the season when Johnson was forced to sit out the round four win over the Roosters but he was confident he could stay on top of the problem throughout the remainder of the season.
"We've all got things we need to manage with our bodies and my area is my groin. I've just got to keep increasing the strength there and keep putting some time into it and I'm sure it will be fine."
Hooker Issac Luke remains a chance of playing despite a knee injury after getting through some unopposed skills work on Wednesday.
"He ticked a few boxes today and he's got a couple more (fitness tests) tomorrow to try and tick off to be ready," said Kearney.
"We just want to make sure, we don't want to put him at any risk."
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