Mason Lino has played his last game at the Warriors.
As reported by the Herald last week, the Warriors' half has been in negotiations with the Newcastle Knights seeking a longer deal than the Auckland club was able to offer.
It's believed he has come to an agreement for a two year deal, and the Knights posted a video on their website on Tuesday afternoon featuring Lino's name. The Warriors later confirmed the move in a statement.
His departure may also change the Issac Luke equation.
Lino was part of the salary cap for 2019, but those funds will now be released, and could theoretically be put towards an improved offer for the off contract hooker.
The club has offered Luke a minimal one year offer for 2019, constrained by what is left in the pot, but that could be increased after the Lino move on Tuesday.
For his part, Lino probably would have preferred to stay in Auckland, especially after making significant progress in 2018, where he has become established as the back-up for Shaun Johnson and Blake Green in the halves at the Warriors.
But Newcastle offered the security of a two season deal, whereas the Warriors couldn't guarantee his future beyond the end of next season.
Lino will be missed.
The 24-year-old was a solid, dependable performer last season, and, though he tends to go under the radar, he featured in one third of the Warriors matches in 2018.
Those games included the memorable wins over the Roosters (Sydney) and the Dragons (Auckland) as well as the epic victories against the Panthers and Raiders in the final two games of the regular season at Mt Smart.
He claimed crucial tries against the Roosters, Dragons and Panthers, and had seven try assists, three line breaks and three line break assists across the year.
Lino was also renowned for his defensive qualities, his organizational skills and his short kicking game.
He played 17 NRL games for the Warriors since his debut in 2015, scoring three tries and kicking 14 goals.
With Mitchell Pearce established in the No 7 jersey in Newcastle, Lino will be duelling with Connor Watson for the five eight spot, though the possible positional switch of Kalyn Ponga could also cloud the picture.
"It's not an easy decision to let Mason go because he is the epitome of a true club man and we all love having him around," said Warriors general manager football Brian Smith.
"He has been totally dedicated to the Warriors but we didn't want to stand in the way of him having a look at options with other clubs.
"His opportunities for NRL football have been limited here and he has more than earned the right to look at the chance of more regular exposure."
Lino was philosophical in a brief club statement.
"It's tough leaving the club because it has been my home and I'm so thankful for all the opportunities I've had here but I'm also excited about what's ahead for me," added Lino.
Lino finished his NYC career with more than 500 points in 62 games from 2012-2014 and added another 65 matches and more than 400 points for the Intrust Super Premiership side since his reserve grade debut in 2014.