At the Auckland Nines in February, Shaun Johnson carried the expectation of a nation, and very nearly took his Warriors team all the way.

The Warriors have announced a star-studded preliminary squad for this year's Auckland Nines, including Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering, Sam Tomkins, Manu Vatuvei and Ryan Hoffman.

Star New Zealand halfback and reigning Golden Boot Johnson will captain the side as he did last year, with Hoffman joining fellow new recruits  Jonathan Wright, Bodene Thompson and Matt Allwood in the 22-man squad.

Several members of the club's NYC premiership-winning Junior Warriors outfit have also been included, with Sam Lisone, Ken Maumalo and Nathaniel Roache joining 2014 Nines squad members and fellow NYC stars Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata.

The squad includes 12 players who were involved in last year's competition, and will be trimmed to 18 players before the 2015 tournament, which runs on January 31 and February 1.

Warriors preliminary squad for 2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines:
Shaun Johnson (c)
Matthew Allwood
Nathan Friend
Ben Henry
Ryan Hoffman
Sebastine Ikahihifo
Solomone Kata
Ngani Laumape
Sam Lisone
Tuimoala Lolohea
Sione Lousi
Simon Mannering
Suaia Matagi
Ben Matulino
Ken Maumalo
Dominique Peyroux
Nathaniel Roache
Bodene Thompson
Sam Tomkins
Chad Townsend
Manu Vatuvei
Jonathan Wright

New rules for 2015 Auckland Nines competition