Warriors coach Andrew McFadden says injured halfback Shaun Johnson and new signings Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are all tracking to play at the NRL Auckland Nines in February.
McFadden doesn’t plan to put any of his high-profile trio in cotton wool for the pre-season tournament at Eden Park, with Kiwis Luke and Tuivasa-Sheck poised to wear the club’s jersey for the first time.
Key playmaker Johnson remains on track to contest the tournament on February 6-7, undergoing contact work in a training session on Wednesday for the first time since he broke his ankle in July.
“He’s going great. We set some little targets for Shaun and he’s met all those,” McFadden said.
“We’re building in some more contact. It’s about building his confidence up in those areas and the rest of his game will come.”
McFadden has enjoyed his first week of having hooker Luke and fullback Tuivasa-Sheck at pre-season training since they left their respective clubs South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters.
He says their experience and quality is already rubbing off on teammates.
“Players like Roger and Issac, they make other people look better, there’s a real class factor there,” he said.
“When you get guys coming into our training, you can feel the intensity pick up. Everyone gets really excited about playing with people like that.”