The New Zealand Warriors have secured a number of handy new recruits for the 2023 season, but now the club’s focus shifts to securing contract extensions for the current squad – and two of the club's favourite sons are at the top of the queue.
According to stuff.co.nz senior writer David Long, Bunty Afoa and Jazz Tevaga – two of the longest-serving players in the squad – will be the focus of the club’s retention efforts prior to the November 1 deadline.
The club’s roster will already look markedly different next year with a number of confirmed departures and arrivals – starting with head coach Andrew Webster, the former Panthers assistant coach who will take the head coaching reins from club icon Stacey Jones at the end of the year.
Fullback Reece Walsh will return to Brisbane, Euan Aitken is headed in a similar direction but will land at the Dolphins, while young back-rower Eliesa Katoa’s decision to join the Storm has already been blasted by former Warriors coach Tony Kemp.
But it hasn’t all been one way traffic - the club have also been active buyers in the market as well, securing the services of Newcastle Knights veteran Mitch Barnett, 2022 feelgood story Te Maire Martin, young Shark Luke Metcalf, former Warrior Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Parramatta’s Maratua Niukore as well as Dylan Walker from Manly.
Though the Warriors know better than most that few things in football are guaranteed, it’s clear the Warriors are making as many moves as possible to add depth to their roster and hopefully give their patient home fans something to cheer about next year.