Christmas came early for the Warriors this week, with the opportunity to get Kodi Nikorima into their squad presenting itself a year earlier than originally expected.
The Warriors had tabled interest in signing Nikorima from 2020 and were prepared to wait until then for the Kiwi international, before he became available immediately following his release from the Brisbane Broncos on Friday.
Nikorima will now arrive in Auckland on Saturday after inking a deal with the Warriors through until the end of 2021, and will be in attendance for the club's match against Newcastle on Sunday at Mount Smart Stadium.
His debut outing as a Warrior is set to come during the NRL's Magic Round at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George said the deal was put together within the space of 48 hours this week.
"Probably Wednesday morning it was all starting to unravel that things could happen pretty quickly, and in fact by Thursday we were looking at the paperwork and getting it all sorted," George said.
"To be honest the release element of his deal has been irrelevant to us, we were of interest next year.
"[But] it was put to us he could be a chance to come immediately… he was really keen to come now."
Warriors confirm signing of Kodi Nikorima
Nikorima is expected to slot straight into the halves alongside Blake Green, bolstering a Warriors side which has averaged 18.5 points per game so far this season.
Warriors assistant coach Tony Iro said Nikorima's style would add another dimension to the attack.
"He's obviously a different player to Blake, so in terms of that he will add a little bit of variability to how we play," Iro said.
"He has a good relationship with our current Kiwi players, so I think the fit is going to be pretty natural for him.
"We know what he can offer… we expect him to do a good job."
George said the Warriors passed on a number of other opportunities to sign playmakers in the five months between halfback Shaun Johnson's departure and the signing of Nikorima.
"There was two [halves offered to us] a week on average, whether they were NRL players, developing players… but we weren't moving for the sake of just moving," George said.
"We will not just spend money for the sake of spending money and just get anyone, we are going to get it right and if that takes us six months or a year to do so, we are proud of that.
"Getting it wrong can take you five minutes but unravelling it can take you years."
George also moved to dispel rumours the Warriors had paid above market rate for Nikorima, who has played 13 Tests for New Zealand and appeared 86 times at NRL Telstra Premiership level for the Broncos
"For those that know [recruitment manager] Peter O'Sullivan, he knows the market extremely well and refuses to pay overs, I can assure you of that," George said.
"I know that what we have achieved here is certainly really good for both parties. We are both very comfortable where that's at and we have got a very good understanding of how the market is right now."