Mason Lino may have had limited opportunities to perform in first-grade, but when they've come he's stepped up in a big way.
With two wins in two appearances in the Warriors' 2018 campaign, there's no question he's up to the task. Warriors first five-eighth Blake Green would know.
Having played alongside both Lino and incumbent halfback Shaun Johnson this year, Green said the two were able to move in and out of the squad seamlessly.
"They play the same role in our team. I sort of play on the ball, and they're bit of a like-for-like swap when they come in," Green said. "Obviously both are very good footy players. Shauny is super talented, as we've seen over the years, and Mason has been fantastic for us when he's come in, but I think that's what you'd expect."
In their round seven win over the St George Illawarra Dragons, Lino and Anthony Gelling came into the squad for the injured Johnson and Solomone Kata. Neither missed a beat, and for Gelling, his first start in the NRL was one to remember. The pair scored the opening two tries of the match, as the Warriors went on to claim a 20-12 victory.
"We've got some good depth in the side and we work really hard in the preseason on the style we wanted to play and anyone that gets a chance, we expect them to do their part and Mason's certainly done that."
Lino has toiled away with the Warriors looking for minutes in first-grade. After coming up through the Warriors' under-20 programme, he signed on to play reserve grade with the club in 2015 – making his NRL debut later that season in place of an injured Chad Townsend.
He then re-signed with the club on a two-year deal in 2017, and was named in the Intrust Super Premiership team of the year for the season.
Coach Stephen Kearney had also noticed the way in which Lino handled himself when given the opportunity to play with the top team this season, and said it gave him another genuine halfback option when he selected the team for the week.
"That's what competition is about – putting your hand up - and Mason's done a great job of that," Kearney said.
"The decision will always be made for the benefit of the team. Sometimes that goes against what someone wants but it's what the team needs and the decision will always be made on that."