‘Everyone knows what he brings to a footy team’

Warriors captain Adam Blair insists that Issac Luke is set to win back the hearts and minds of the rugby league public in 2018.

The 30-year-old hooker showed glimpses of some of his old spark in the 20-14 trial win over the Titans on the Sunshine Coast with some dazzling scoots from dummy half and crisp service to his halves and big men a feature.

Luke has acknowledged that he has been well below his best in his two seasons at the Warriors and that he needs to lift his game.

The former Rabbitoh is off-contract at the end of this year but Blair has watched him work hard in the pre-season to get his body right and his hunger back.

“I think everyone is going to fall in love with Issac Luke again,” Blair told NRL.com.

“Everyone knows what Issac brings to a footy team and he has worked really hard in this off-season, ever since I have been there and before I turned up.

“He’s in really good shape and his head space is clear. He wants to do something really special this year.

“We’ve been working really hard in the off-season as a group, as has Issac. We have some good people around him, some real leaders, who are pushing him really hard and I think he is ready to go.”

New Zealand Warriors hooker Issac Luke.
New Zealand Warriors hooker Issac Luke.
©Scott Davis / NRL Photos

Warriors five-eighth Blake Green had a strong game in his first outing alongside Luke for the club.

The former Manly and Storm star said the veteran rake made his job a lot easier.

“Issac was very clean out of dummy and gave great service,” Green said.

“He had a pretty disjointed pre-season and picked up a couple of niggling hamstring injuries, and only got about two weeks of full training in basically.

“I thought he was really good and that is a huge plus for us with his experience around the ruck.

“Sam Cook did a really good job when he was on and we’ve got Jazz Tevaga back at home, so there are some really good options at hooker there.”

Blair reckons Luke can be an inspiration to the youthful Warriors hookers and younger players in the squad.

“Issac brings a lot of skill around the middle and also a lot of leadership,” Blair said

“We have a young group at the Warriors and I know they are all grateful that he is back on the field.

“When Issac is on, he is on. He is one of the best hookers going around.”

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