Blake Green looks like being the “yin” to Shaun Johnson’s “yang”. They couldn’t be more different as a six and seven, but the Warriors are hoping their new halves combination balance each other to perfection in 2018.
The early signs in the 20-14 trial win over the Gold Coast Titans – the pair’s first outing together – were more than promising.
One of the reasons the Warriors signed Green from Manly and brought him over the ditch on a three-year deal was to help unlock the very best in Johnson.
The standout feature of their work against the Titans was their combination on the same side of the field.
One such play – a sweeping move to the right where Green and Johnson combined – led to a try to David Fusitu’a.
Another perfectly executed right-to-left transaction, where Green passed to Johnson who in one movement tipped the ball on, led to a try to Solomone Kata.
When NRL.com spoke to Green after the match he revealed that partnership – where the No.6 passes to the No.7 on a regular basis rather than staying on separate sides – was no coincidence.
“That’s the plan, and it felt pretty good and quite smooth in patches,” Green said.
“When we got in transition and played together we looked pretty dangerous.
“Shaun is very fast and so good on his feet, so the more I can play direct into the line and give him the footy a bit wider the better. That’s where there is more space and he can use his pace to get on the outside of people and make the centres and wingers make some decisions.
“That is the idea of it and the style we have come up with after having a few weeks at pre-season training working on it.
“It was our first crack at it and obviously there is a lot to work on, but it was a good start for us.”
Green’s calm and methodical approach is in stark contrast to Johnson’s dazzling talent and constant striving for the big play.
The Warriors new recruit appears to have the game to unlock the best in the New Zealand Test star and in the team generally.
“Blake is a calm head, experienced and he is a great leader and it showed at times in that game,” Warriors prop Adam Blair said.
“He is just what we need at this club.”