A Friend in need, a need for Friend. For someone seen last season as yesterday's man, the presence of Nathan Friend seems as vital as ever at the Warriors.
Unwanted midway through 2013, he was given permission to negotiate with other clubs. The club had decided Thomas Leuluai was the future at hooker, as well as the young breed such as Siliva Havili.
It was hard to understand, given Friend's contribution since arriving in 2012. He brought a hard-nosed, professional attitude - the type the club desperately needed.
"I had no indication of them not requiring my services until the last minute, so that was tough," Friend told the Herald on Sunday. "It wasn't an easy time but I just waited to see what would eventuate and hoped things could work out. The game is a business and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made."
The club eventually found room for Friend under their salary cap - and just as well. The injury to Leuluai means Friend will be the 80-minute man at dummy half again today.
The 33-year-old is a realist, especially given his recent injury track record, but hopes to be at Mt Smart beyond this season.
"I'm glad I have stayed on," says Friend. "Once it was all said and done and I had signed, I tried to move on and be a professional.
"The club is looking well advanced, compared to where we were last year; it would be great if I could stay another year. I might be 33 but I have plenty of years ahead where I can give good service."
Friend's shoulder condition is a concern ("it's not 100 per cent where the nerve is but everything around it seems fine") but if it holds together, he will be a valuable asset in 2014.
He remains one of the true 80-minute hookers in the competition, with an astonishing work rate.
"It's the norm - I'm accustomed to playing 80 minutes and it's no drama," says Friend. "I'm just a small guy [1.72m, 85kg] and it's much easier for me to get around the field than the big boys. I love the challenge and I feel I'm fit enough to do it ... the day I can't is probably when I give it away."
"It's harder to get him off the field than keep him on," says coach Matt Elliott. "When he first started coming back from injury [last year], getting him off the field and getting Pita Godinet on was a bloody challenge ... we almost had to mug him and get Ruben [Wiki] to drag him off."
Friend led the Warriors' defensive statistics last year, averaging 47 tackles a game (next was Simon Mannering with 33). He offers fast, accurate service from dummy half and, while his running game isn't comparable to Cameron Smith, Issac Luke or Robbie Farah, he added some much-needed variety to his game in the second half of last season. He made some effective snipes from dummy half and even put in the occasional kick to keep markers guessing.
Friend is a model professional; setting an example in his approach to training, focus on nutrition (he brings his own chilly bin to training, with protein supplements and shakes) and commitment to game day.
With the Warriors expected to have a more dominant forward pack in 2014, with Jayson Bukuya and the return of the Lousi brothers and Ben Henry adding competition for places, Friend should have a better platform this season.
"We will see a vast improvement on our start this year than in previous years," says Friend. "I'm not trying to put the pressure on us but we are ahead of where we were last year. We can go a fair way in this competition if everyone stays healthy and we stay on track; it's quite easy in this competition to go off course.
"As one of the older guys, I hope I can show the younger guys what is required to continually improve. It's my job to advance the team and keep them on track."