NRL 2021: NZ Warriors eye bidding war for NZ Kiwis, Sydney Roosters centre Joseph Manu

NZ Warriors coach Nathan Brown has hinted he's keen to chase Sydney Roosters and NZ Kiwis star Joseph Manu, when he becomes available this year.

Manu's Roosters contract expires on November 1 and the Warriors have reportedly already put their rivals on notice that they're interested in adding him to their 2022 roster.

Although Manu has shown his utility value, playing at fullback and half for the injury-plagued Roosters this season, Brown has indicated to Triple M radio he would keep him in the centres, where he is rated one of the competition's very best.  

But he may also end up in the halves longer term.

Despite losing captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to rugby union next season, the Warriors already have a ready-made replacement in Reece Walsh and will welcome star half Shaun Johnson back to their ranks next season.

"Obviously, we see Reece as our longer-term prospect as fullback, but someone like Joey, who can cover a number of positions... if anyone can secure a player that, we've seen what a great job he's done for the Roosters this year in a number of positions," says Brown.

"We've also got Chanel Harris-Tavita coming back, who we've got high hopes for to be a longer-term player, and we've got Shaun too coming. Obviously, with Shaun's age, he's more of a two-year prospect.

"So, in the scheme of things, a player like Joey is someone you can have in your club for a longer term and he can play a number of important positions. I would have thought he would play centre when he needs to, but blokes like him, where they can play in other positions and get the ball more, they tend to like that." 

Tuivasa-Sheck's departure frees up considerable salary for the Warriors to chase another marquee star, with Manu among the most attractive prospects, both on and off the field, but other clubs will also make bids.

Earlier this season, the Daily Telegraph rated him the NRL's "hottest" player, as judged by a panel of talent management, reality stars, models and entertainment media.

"We have all looked at it on a deeper level of not just aesthetically what they look like and thought about the kind of person we think they are," said Married at First Sight star Jules Robinson.

"Men and women just look at things in a different way. Men focus very much on a woman's body, whereas we have looked a the guys' personalities." 

Walsh, Tuivasa-Sheck and Johnson were also among the other NRL "hotties", along with fellow Kiwis Dylan Brown, Kalyn Ponga and Jarome Luai.