The uncertainty over Issac Luke's future at the Warriors has been resolved, with the club confirming that the Kiwis hooker will remain at Mt Smart for the rest of the 2019 season.
It was the final piece of good news on a positive day for the Warriors, where the NRL team impressed in a solid 26-16 wins over the Tigers in Whangarei, and just as importantly, came through their final trial without any major injuries.
Luke was always unlikely to leave the Warriors – he's happy in Auckland and has impressed club observers with his output across the pre-season – but Australian media reports of possible Parramatta interest had created plenty of conjecture.
But the club confirmed on Saturday that his contract has been modified and upgraded, removing the clause that could have sparked an early release this year.
Kearney was mostly content with the performance in the Far North, aside from a late lapse which allowed the Tigers two tries.
The Warriors were particularly impressive in the first 60 minutes, repelling most Tigers' threats with organised, committed defence, while making inroads up the middle and out wide.
"It seemed like there was a real calmness about the performance, both with the footy and in defence," said Kearney. "They seemed to coordinate themselves well. In attack we played it pretty simple, put them under pressure and there were some positive signs."
Kearney said the majority of his starting 17 is settled in his mind a fortnight out from the NRL season opener, though there are still some jerseys up for grabs.
The most intriguing battle is between Adam Keighran and Chanel Harris-Tavita for the halves position inside Blake Green.
Both had their moments on Saturday, with Harris-Tavita involved in a couple of Warriors tries and Keighran showing his all-round capabilities.
"I thought they both did pretty well," said Kearney. "They have worked really hard on their pre-season and their game and they were pretty good today."
However Kearney wasn't about to reveal who had the inside running to replace Shaun Johnson.
"Am I going to tell you that today?," said Kearney. "No I'm not. Once I've had a close look at the game and have a bit of a feel for what is going to best suit the footy team for round one then we will make that decision. For everyone concerned we will make it sooner rather than later."
The sight of Nathaniel Roache in full flight was a heartwarming sight, as the hooker got through 40 minutes of his second outing since the long injury absence.
"I was really pleased for Nate to get through a couple of trials," said Kearney. "You can see he is not far away from splitting the defence open. He poked his nose through a couple of times [on Saturday]. It's just about him getting comfortable and getting some confidence with his game."
Adam Blair was a late withdrawal with a hamstring strain, but it's not expected to be serious. Blair is one of a number of players involved in the most competitive selection shakedown at Mt Smart, with Lachlan Burr and Leeson Ah Mau adding depth to the options in the pack.
Isaiah Papalii performed well at lock, a revitalised Sam Lisone continues to show the benefits of a strong pre-season, while incumbents Bunty Afoa and Agnatius Paasi will be hard to shift.
"Some positions are picking themselves but our middles, our props, our lock – that's a real competitive position," said Kearney. "Once we look at the tape and clarify how everyone pulls up, that will become a little bit easier."