Sunday 20 August 2017 / 11:42 PM

RECRUITMENT WATCH: WARRIORS

In the next instalment of his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI looks at who the New Zealand Warriors are chasing, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.

Needs: New Zealand are very much in the market for forwards. They have signed Tohu Harris and Leivaha but after being battered through the middle this year and with a ton of forwards off-contract they are in the market for some big middle types who can control the ruck. Ben Matulino has already walked and there will be others to go. There is a need to find a controlling five-eighth as well – Ata Hingano is being groomed for the position but doesn’t seem the best fit, while the Warriors were rumoured to be in the hunt for Te Maire Martin prior to his switch to North Queensland. A quality outside-back or two wouldn’t hurt, either.

2018 Recruits: Tohu Harris, Leivaha Pulu, Manaia Cherrington, Zac Santo

2018 Losses: Kieran Foran, Ben Matulino, Tuimoala Lolohea, Erin Clark, Toafofoa Sipley

Off-Contract: Ryan Hoffman, Bodene Thompson, Charlie Gubb, Jacob Lillyman, Albert Vete, Nathaniel Roach, Matt Allwood, Bureta Faraima

Rumours: The Warriors have been reported to be in the market for both James Graham and Adam Blair. Graham is still a chance of being released by the Bulldogs due to a glut of prop forwards. He would be a great fit for the Warriors. Blair is close with coach Stephen Kearney from his time at the Broncos as well as in the Kiwis camp, but Wayne Bennett is unlikely to let one of his favourites walk easily.

Players to Target: The Warriors are long odds to convince veterans Paul Gallen or Luke Lewis to finish off their careers at the Warriors but they are exactly the kind of tough veterans who know how to win that the club needs. Adam Blair is back playing decent football and could be another good fit. Jai Arrow is a promising younger player who just needs a chance, but he looks headed to the Titans. David Gower is a veteran who could provide some depth. Tyrone Roberts would be an ideal solution to their halves hole, while Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck would be worth pursuing with his older brother already at the Warriors and three-quarter line opportunities at the Roosters scarce. Blake Ferguson or Jordan Kahu could transform the Warriors’ backline if they’re prepared to splash the cash, which they could do with Manu Vatuvei on his way out.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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