Returning star Shaun Johnson has revealed one of the key factors in his decision to come back to the Warriors - and a little known fact attached to it.
Johnson played 162 games for the Warriors before his infamous departure in 2018 and has spent the last three seasons with Cronulla Sharks.
However, with a two-year deal signed last June, Johnson said he is coming back to the Kiwi franchise excited by the team's potential.
"[The club’s young roster] is obviously a reason why I came back," Johnson told SENZ. "I wanted to be a part of it.
“When the opportunity came back for me to return, I was like, ‘yeah, I want to be able to mix and mingle with these kids who are going to go on to be something special’."
In fact, Johnson pointed out he'll be joining the squad as a truly seasoned veteran for 2022.
“The roster, the youth, between you and me, I don’t know if you know, but I’m the oldest in the squad. Think about that, it blows my mind.
“It’s really refreshing, a lot of them share stories of memories they have of me playing over the years, we joke about it and we laugh about it.
“It’s quite surreal for me to hear… one of them was seven years old when I was playing in the Grand Final… where does that time go?”
Johnson said he has had a few other surprises in his return to the club, including the newfound level of professionalism he's experienced.
“Being back at the Warriors now, the attitude and the professionalism around training (is great),” Johnson said.
“The coaching staff, everything ticks boxes for me.
“There’s not one area where I’m thinking they’re leaving stones unturned here… we’re training at a high level.
“As far as pre-seasons go, I won’t say it’s better than what the Sharks were doing, but I definitely won’t say it’s worse.
“I think we’re certainly on the right track here.”
The 31-year-old playmaker added his move was also influenced by off-the-field motives such as his Kiwi family.
“In the current climate, it made it difficult for me from a family sense, not being able to see my girls and having to watch my daughter grow up on FaceTime."