Change is coming to the Warriors, and it could be coming fast. The NRL club is famously unpredictable but one thing seems certain for 2020 and beyond: Things will be different with Mark Robinson at the helm.
Robinson is chief executive of Autex Industries, who became sole owner of the NRL club last Tuesday, after buying out the 67 per cent stake held by the Carlaw Heritage Trust.
Alongside Autex managing director Rob Croot, Robinson heads a highly successful business, with annual turnover in excess of $100 million, but he's far from your archetypal corporate type.
He drives a Rolls Royce and at the recent Warriors annual awards he spent as much time on the dance floor as he did mixing with sponsors and club staff.
He's a league diehard and a long-time supporter of the Pt Chevalier Pirates.
But most of all, Robinson is a straight shooter, with strong principles and strong opinions.
Asked how the culture can be improved at the Mt Smart club, he doesn't hold back, offering several theories.
"We need to stop the superiority syndrome which is around there," said Robinson. "I see them, some of the senior players think they are better than everyone else. I've seen people when they are injured sitting in the coaches' box, instead of down on the sidelines with their mates. What are they doing in there? I wouldn't dream of going in there.
"Those things make big differences. The other players would notice that, too, some of those players wouldn't be allowed to do that. The rule should be no one goes in there, except for the captain, if he is injured."
As an outsider looking in, Robinson also feels there is too much of a hierarchy within the playing squad.
"They come across like they think they are equal but I don't see that," says Robinson. "I see some players who think they are better than others, and a team has to be equal. Maybe on the field, they are, but off the field, they might be bit more separated than they could be. All humans are equal. Some get paid more than others, but that is because they have more responsibilities and deserve it, but it doesn't mean you can look down on others."
Robinson wants to help drive change.
"They will be told about the expectation and I believe they will embrace it. Some might be put off but hard bloody luck."
Robinson also has clear expectations on head coach Stephen Kearney, who has finished 14th, eighth and 13th during his three seasons in charge.
"Next year has to be his year," said Robinson. "If it's not, it's not and it's probably time to move on. He has been under the pump, he [inherited] a team when he first turned up, he has had three years to change those players around.
"He's got a couple of others coming in but it's hard to get them because the club is not attractive.
"[But] like anyone else in a business, he's on notice. He needs to make the top eight next year, otherwise we will have to have a sit-down."
Robinson also wants to, literally and metaphorically, tidy up the environment at Mt Smart. There will be new changing rooms, and he has gained a commitment from Regional Facilities Auckland to spruce up the ageing ground for the remainder of the lease.
"We will smarten the place up, clean up the offices, make it into a place where people want to come to work, and want to work hard."
It's partly image, mentioning the IT room next to the staff canteen that is "covered in dust and crap" and general dress standards, describing one member of staff turning up to work recently like "he had just come from doing his lawns".
"People are cruising around wearing what they want," says Robinson. "It's not good enough. Like any business I don't care what you wear on a Friday but from Monday to Thursday you are going to look professional and be professional."
Robinson also wants to sharpen the saw around general workplace practices, habits and standards.
"I don't want them to think I am going to come in with an iron fist but at the end of the day too many people have too much time on their hands ... and that's why the place is a bit sloppy I feel. They are not busy enough, a few people.
"I've done it before in Australia and in this business here. People will react pretty well I think."
Despite his no-nonsense approach, Robinson emphasises he is a people person. He's certainly a popular figure as he walks through Autex's sprawling factories in Avondale, and says the company goes the extra mile. There are all kind of staff benefits, generous overtime rates and employees tend to stick around. A hearty soup is provided every day for workers, while a newly-built commercial kitchen will provide heavily subsidised meals daily.
"Business is easy," says Robinson. "You've just got to get the people wanting to work for you and like you. Got to give them what they want, and then they give you what you want.
"We have got that right, and it's because of what we have done over the last 20 years. They are my mates in there, not my workers. They get paid really well, as much overtime as they want and all the things you should get for being away from your family for that long."
Robinson says he likes to empower people, and Autex's ongoing success comes from their team approach, though there is no doubt who is boss.
"Everyone has their responsibilities," says Robinson. "I'll go and discuss things with them, especially with Rob [Croot], and we agree or disagree, but at the end of the day if I want to do it we are doing it.
"[But] I don't interfere very often, only when I think I need to and when I feel something starts to irritate me. I have to do it."
Robinson will need to find the right balance between inspiring others with his vision and passion, but avoiding the flamboyant approach of some English football owners, who condemn their clubs to endless boom-bust cycles through overly emotive reactions and decisions.
"I'm going to be around a fair bit," says Robinson. "Cruising around, doing my thing, talking to people."
Croot, who has worked with Robinson for 18 years, is confident he will strike the right chord.
"You can't empower people and ask them to take risks and spread their wings if you don't know what they are about. That is something that Mark is incredibly intuitive about.
"But Mark is passionate about this. He's not a guy to sit on the sidelines and go 'do what you want and I hope you win boys'. He's here to be a part of it.
"You can bet your life he will be involved in the conversations but it's the same as here, he will be empowering people to make good decisions.
"He'll also sit back and allow people to make bad decisions and then say I saw this coming, you need to learn from this."
The main doors outside Autex reception are emblazoned with various company mottos, giving a snapshot of Robinson's and Croot's approach: "We will laugh, hard and often", "We are generous givers, not self-serving takers", "We imagine big and start small".
Autex is a rare beast, thriving in the manufacturing sector in New Zealand.
Founded in 1967, it continues to expand, with operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, United States and South East Asia and their acoustics and insulation clients include some of the biggest companies in the world.
Autex also has a long, historical link with league. In 1979, they were the first sponsor of the NZRL, associated with the Kiwis' revival in the early to mid-1980s. They've been long-time sponsors of the Warriors, and set up Autex House as a base for young players living away from home.
The corridor leading to the Autex boardroom is lined with sporting and league memorabilia — Kiwis and Warriors jerseys, a Liverpool top, various Pt Chevalier mementos and a montage of signed State of Origin photos, featuring Queensland legends.
It's hard not to escape the feeling the 54-year-old Robinson is living his dream, as the owner of New Zealand's only NRL club.
"I'm not going to sell it. I'm here for the long run, the 10-year ride," says Robinson.
"We are going to build something that we are going to always keep, and treasure and make the New Zealand public proud of their Warriors team, instead of disappointed every year. I want to win an NRL title while we are at Mt Smart Stadium. I've got eight years to do that [before the lease expires] but I'm hoping it is going to be a quicker than that."