This could be an astute signing for the Warriors, but really, only time will tell. Robson is 33 years old and has publicly stated that he ONLY wants one more year in the game. So, regardless of how things turn out in New Zealand, he'll just do this season and then return to Sydney. Which does raise concerns about how vested he'll be in the club. It would be very difficult for any player to truly feel part of an organisation and excited about its prospects when they've just arrived and know they only have the one season there.
People are saying he'll be a mentor for the young Warriors halves, and perhaps through his dedication to training and inherently calm demeanor, he'll point the way for Tui and Mason. However, he doesn't strike me as the confident leader that you'd want in a 'mentor'. In fact, he seems very introverted. One of the reasons he worked so well for the Sharks this year was that he was perfectly content with simply handing the ball off to Gallen and co, rather than take any attacking initiative himself.
Gallen, who - love him or hate him - is one of the smartest football minds in Australia, described Robson as an unsung hero at the Sharks. And it's not hard to see why. The Sharks game was built around toughness, resilience and discipline. But it was the forwards who called the shots. Robson was a solid link the chain, and didn't get in anyone's way.
His stats for the season demonstrate his hardworking, journeyman status: he made the fewest errors (13), the most tackles (415) and passes (951) of any other halfback in the NRL. But conversely, he had only seven try assists (50th among all players). And even worse, he made only one line break in 2015. One!
Do the Warriors really need another Nathan Friend scenario where opposition players can hang off a key position in the knowledge that the person playing it will pose absolutely no threat to their defence?
If Robson were to perform this way as a starting half at the Warriors in 2016, I can see him getting ripped to shreds for being too bland, too predictable, too dull, and so on. We like the boring, reliable players in theory. But in practice, they become easy targets when the team struggles.
Having said all that, I can't imagine that Robson would be coming to Auckland on a one year deal to play NSW Cup. He could have stayed at the Sharks (who wanted him to re-sign) and done the same thing - a much easier final year for so many reasons. Which hints that Doyle and McFadden have alluded to him that a starting spot is a real possibility.
As many have speculated on here, this could be a sign that TL genuinely wants out, and that Doyle's like-for-like release policy is panning out again.
While I admire the tenacious qualities Robson possesses, and agree that his arrival at the Warriors will infuse the squad with another true professional, I can't see how a veteran at the very (very) end of his career, who remarkably didn't properly crack first grade until he was 26, will solve any of the Warriors on-field problems. He'll be a handy back-up at best. But I hope they don't see him as Shaun Johnson
's foil, because all that would do is put all the heat back on Johnson
as the only half capable of threatening the line.
If you look at the way the starting sides of the two Grand Finalists are structured, all 4 halves are a threat. The defence is on the back foot on both sides of the ruck. And this has to be the approach the Warriors take in 2016.