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Warriors have to win by 2018: Toopi

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/01/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Clinton Toopi. © Robb Cox/AAP Image Clinton Toopi. Warriors legend Clinton Toopi believes if the current roster doesn't hoist the NRL trophy by the end of next year, the club never will.

Expectations have reached fever pitch in Auckland after the acquisition of the unregistered Kieran Foran, as well as former Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney.

Foran's impending registration will give Kearney his first-choice Test spine in a line-up Toopi labelled ten times better than the club's 2002 grand final team.

"Minimum is top eight, but I'd be pushing for top four because that calibre, how can you not think that they're capable of doing that?" Toopi told AAP.

"On paper, the team that we had when we went to the grand final back in 2002, they surpass that ten-fold.

"It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. If we can't get it in this first year, it's surely going to be the second year.

"And if we can't do it in those two years, we're never going to get it."

Twice the Warriors have reached the grand final, in 2002 and 2011, and twice they've fallen at the final hurdle.

But Toopi is a big believer in Kearney, who led the Kiwis to World Cup glory in 2008 and Four Nations triumphs in 2010 and 2014.

"Nothing against any of coaches, because one of the best coaches I had was Daniel Anderson," he said.

"But I always felt like it's got to be one of ours to take us all the way. It's just a deeper meaning, if that makes sense.

"He was one of the best professionals when I first came into the Kiwis. There's a whole lot of other players, but he stood out, just being cool, calm and collected.

"He's still the same today."

However if boasting arguably the best-assembled roster isn't enough, then Toopi reckons the club's favourable schedule is even more reason to dream.

The introduction of the early Friday night game means broadcaster favourites Brisbane no longer have a monopoly on the free-to-air fixture.

The Warriors have six Friday clashes in the first 20 rounds, one less than the Broncos, who also have six Thursday night games.

"There's an advantage that way because you get more supporters coming to the game, getting behind you, making it more of a graveyard," he said.

"Most teams that travel over, they don't want to play in a night game. It's all wet and dewy, which they're not used to.

"Generally it's a Sunday game, that's what teams are accustomed to. In that sense, that's going to be a huge advantage, even though the likes of Broncos, they get it because they're prime time."

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