The move to bring Kodi Nikorima to the Warriors has been more than six months in the making.
Like any other NRL club, the Warriors have multiple targets at any given time.
Nikorima, whose signing until the end of the 2021 season was confirmed on Friday, has been on their radar for an extended period, helped by his close relationship with Stephen Kearney, but the focus on the Broncos' halfback increased immeasurably once Shaun Johnson departed last December.
The 25-year-old wasn't the only half on their list — Parramatta youngster Dylan Brown was there, along with several others — but he was near the top.
The Warriors were aware of Nikorima's potential free agent status in 2020, with an option in his favour on the final year of his Broncos deal.
Nikorima knew the Auckland club was interested in his services, but wanted to see how the transformation at the Broncos under new coach Anthony Siebold played out, feeling great loyalty to the club after almost a decade there.
But things were different, and the turning point came a few weeks ago, when it was made clear to Nikorima and his representatives that a new long term deal at Red Hill wasn't in the pipeline.
That led Nikorima to consider his options, and the Warriors surged to the top of the list.
The Mt Smart club then got permission from the Broncos to talk with Nikorima about 2019, before Seibold consented to an early release.
Nikorima bode an emotional farewell to his teammates on Tuesday, with the final paperwork sorted out by Thursday night.
He'll arrive in Auckland in time to attend Sunday's match against the Knights, and will have his first session with the team the following day.
Though he can cover all positions in the spine — with plenty of NRL experience at hooker — Nikorima is likely to be given the No 6 jersey, and should make his debut next Saturday against the Dragons.
"He's obviously a different player to Blake, so he will add a little bit of variability to how we play," said assistant coach Tony Iro.
"He has a good relationship with our current Kiwi players, so I think the fit is going to be pretty natural for him. We know what he can offer [and] we expect him to do a good job."
Warriors' CEO Cameron George said Nikorima was the right fit for the jigsaw, after six months of searching.
"We weren't moving for the sake of [it]," said George.
"We will not just spend money for the sake of spending money and just get anyone, we are going to get it right and if that takes us six months or a year to do so, we are proud of that. Getting it wrong can take you five minutes but unravelling it can take you years."
George also disputed the idea that the Warriors had paid over the odds for the 13-test Kiwi, saying it was a good deal for both parties.
Born in Palmerston North, Nikorima played most of his junior league in Christchurch, before moving to Queensland as a teenager.
He was a standout for the Broncos at Under-20 level, and featured in the 2014 Holden Cup grand final against the Warriors.
Nikorima made his first grade debut in the second week of the 2015 season, and played in the NRL grand final later that year, where the Broncos were seconds away from a premiership ring.
He has played 86 NRL matches (22 tries) as well as 13 Kiwis tests since his debut in 2015.