Bunty Afoa is delighted to see Shaun Johnson back with the New Zealand Warriors and says the club are determined to force their way into the top eight in 2022.
The Warriors are priced at 30/1 to win the 2022 NRL grand final but the first aim is to get back into the eight and play finals football once again.
The Warriors have had a tough time after being forced to relocate to New South Wales and this will be their third year away from New Zealand.
However they are now all in their own houses and Afoa says there can be no excuses as they attempt to climb the ladder.
"Every year our goal is to make it into the top eight and that’s what the team’s striving for," he told reporters. "It’s a fairly young squad. We don’t have a lot of old heads like we usually do but we have some young energy coming through."
They do however have the experienced Johnson who is returning to the club following a spell with Cronulla and Afoa says it is good to have the playmaker back on board.
"He’s been awesome," he added. "It’s good to see him back in the squad. He’s always been a Warrior and to see him around the young ones has been good.
"He played his best footy when he was at the Warriors and to have him back to lead us around the field is huge."
Afoa is also keen to take his game on to a new level in 2022 and aims to make an impact whether starting the game or coming off the bench.
"I want to bring what I’m good at and that’s running but with a bit of difference," he said. "I’m trying to add more to my game with ball in hand, a bit of an off load and some footwork. The game has changed. It’s a bit faster now and I’ve had to adapt to suit it."