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Who's the Warriors' next halfback? Five names that could replace Shaun Johnson

With Shaun Johnson's exit from the Warriors now confirmed, the club are seemingly in a race against time to secure themselves a new number seven with the 2019 season creeping closer by the day.

As such, it's time for us to all put our recruitment director hats on and look at a number of potential candidates who could replace the Warriors' all-time leading points scorer.

Luke Brooks

Luke Brooks
Luke Brooks Source: Photosport

Current club: Wests Tigers

The reigning Dally M halfback of the year, the signature of Luke Brooks at this stage may only be a dream for Warriors fans.

Brooks is one of several NRL halves off contract at the end of 2019 but the Tigers have reportedly tabled a multi-million dollar offer to keep Brooks in Sydney.

Gifted both running the ball as well as possessing a strong kicking game, Brooks has scored 31 tries in his short career with the Tigers - a club record from halfback, as well as registering numerous try assists.

At just 23 years of age, Brooks would be an ideal replacement for Johnson in terms of longevity, however it seems like the longest of long shots that he'll uproot and move to Auckland.

Chances: 3/10

Mitchell Moses

Mitchell Moses
Mitchell Moses Source: Photosport

Current club: Parramatta Eels

Mitchell Moses would be a brilliant addition to the Warriors but seemingly the only way he'd possibly come would be in some sort of like-for-like swap should Shaun Johnson decide to join the Eels, with Parramatta reportedly interested in the Kiwis halfback.

Moses is another one off-contract at the end of 2019, but is probably less likely to leave than Luke Brooks.

The Eels halfback was named in Brad Fittler's New South Wales Emerging Blues Squad this year and Origin hopefuls have never favoured the move across the Tasman because as we've seen so often in the past, Origin selectors rarely look at contenders playing at the Warriors (James Maloney anyone?).

Chances: 2/10

Te Maire Martin

Te Maire Martin was linked with a mid-season switch from the Panthers, before heading to the Cowboys.
Te Maire Martin Source: Photosport

Current club: North Queensland Cowboys

One that the Warriors have already tried to bring to Auckland, Te Maire Martin is a talented playmaker in his own right and his acquisition seems most likely because he's a Kiwi, though he came through the ranks at Wests Tigers.

However, Johnathan Thurston has dubbed Martin as the man to fill his boots for the Cowboys, moving Michael Morgan to halfback and donning the number six jersey himself.

Again, off-contract at the end of 2019, Martin's acquisition could be a clever piece of business for the Warriors, with the 23-year old more than capable in a number of positions across the park.

Having learned from the best halfback the game's ever seen in Thurston, Martin would be a class addition to the Warriors, offering longevity as well as already having a relationship with the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and a number of other key members of the Kiwis' side.

Chances: 5/10

Ata Hingano

Ata Hingano during the Warriors and Penrith NSW Cup Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. New Zealand. Sunday 22 August 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.Photosport.nz
Ata Hingano during the Warriors and Penrith NSW Cup. Source: Photosport

Current club: Canberra Raiders

Forced to leave the Warriors in search of regular playing time, Ata Hingano is another off-contract at the end of 2019.

Just 21, Hingano is still learning his trade in the NRL, and could be seen as somewhat of a risk given his inexperience and having had his fair share of injury concerns this year.

Well accustomed to the Warriors' set-up, having come through as a junior before his early-season exit this year, Hingano's return could be a real coup for the club.

The 21-year-old has flashed glimpses of his potential in establishing himself as the first-choice halfback for Tonga, particularly during last year's World Cup.

With just seven appearances for Canberra this season, Hingano's return would be a sentimental one for Warriors fans, with many feeling like he wasn't given a chance at Mt Smart.

The reality though, is that the Warriors let go of Hingano for a reason, and chances are that the versatile young half having learned enough during his year away to be ready to step into the number seven jersey seem a tad unlikely for now.

Chances: 6/10

Chanel Harris-Tavita

Current club: Warriors

Seemingly the most likely name for now, Chanel Harris-Tavita could find himself thrust into the job of Warriors halfback in the same way that Johnson did before him.

Already familiar to Kiwi fans thanks to his audacious back-heel assist against the Junior Kangaroos, Harris-Tavita is a sensible ball-playing half, whose ascension to the Warriors' first-grade side could be similar to that of Mason Lino.

His kicking game does leave more questions than answers though, but playing next to Blake Green for the meantime could help him learn how to manage games at the top level.

Harris-Tavita is well regarded within the Warriors' set-up already, having been named the NYC rookie of the year in 2016 and NYC player of the year in 2017.

The likes of Nathan Cleary, Kalyn Ponga and Latrell Mitchell have shown the value in giving youth a chance, and at 19 years of age, Chanel Harris-Tavita could give life to the adage that if you're good enough, you're old enough.

Not to mention, being a relatively cheap option, Harris-Tavita's promotion would free the Warriors up to spend mega bucks somewhere else.

Chances: 8/10

Chanel Harris Tavita. NZ Warriors v Wyong Roos, 2018 ISP Intrust Super Premiership Rugby League season at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 22 July 2018. Copyright photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Chanel Harris-Tavita in action for the Warriors during an Intrust Super Premiership NSW match. Source: Photosport