Kodi Nikorima admits he has a long way to go at the Warriors – but he has started in the best possible fashion.
With a lot of hype around his first appearance, after his sudden mid-season switch from the Broncos, there was an intense focus on the 25-year-old.
Making his Warriors debut at Suncorp Stadium only added to the storyline, but Nikorima took it all in his stride.
It was a solid first outing; he got involved on attack and did his job defensively. There was a neat try assist for Peta Hiku to seal the match, and his sleight of hand and speed of foot helped to create space for his outside men.
Nikorima was the last to leave the Warriors dressing room after the match, as he soaked up the occasion, and his main emotions were pride and relief.
"It was good to get the win after a pretty crazy week for me," said Nikorima. "I've spoken a lot about the move and the transition and I was glad I could put all that behind me and focus on the year."
"I'll keep building and keep improving. I've still got a long way to go…obviously I'm just finding myself in this team. Blake [Green] did a tremendous job of guiding the team around and he told me just to roam. That's what I did, but I feel like if I can put myself in the game more, it will be more beneficial for the team."
Probably the most difficult aspect of his first match in Warriors colors was remembering all the set move and various systems, after just one training system and a captain's run.
"Getting to know the plays [was difficult]," said Nikorima. "Most teams are similar in their structures but I think I found myself calling a few of the Broncos plays out there and the boys were looking at me quite weird. But to their credit they moved on with it."
Despite all the attention and storylines around Nikorima in the buildup, there wasn't high anxiety on the big day for the 13-test Kiwi.
"I wasn't too nervous," said Nikorima. "It was just like another game to me. I knew there was going to be a lot of hype around my name…people watching me, making sure I play a good game, but I went through the same routine."
Nikorima had breakfast with his partner and their three month old son, before a Warriors team walk and lunch.
Nikorima then had a nap, before the team made the short trip through the Brisbane CBD to Suncorp Stadium.
It was then that the magnitude of the occasion started to hit him, and peaked when he stood in the tunnel moments before kickoff.
"It was pretty emotional," said Nikorima. "I was a big Warriors fan growing up and was pretty proud to wear the jersey there. It was pretty weird being on the other end but I'm glad they didn't boo me.
Coach Stephen Kearney was impressed with Nikorima's contribution
"I thought he did a pretty good job," said Kearney. "He challenges the defensive line. He had some really nice touches tonight.
"[And] what a game to come into. I'm sure he would have preferred different circumstances so I thought he managed himself really well. He came up with some slick hands, and also some important tackles. I thought it was a pretty good start."
And things should only get better now, as Nikorima settles into life as a Warrior, on and off the field.
"It was always going to be a hard decision," said Nikorima about leaving the Queensland capital.
"I've got a lot of love for the Broncos and that won't ever change. But looking ahead, I'm glad to be in the new colours now and my future is pretty sorted now."