Ben Murdoch Masila is open to a move to the front row – should the need arise – as the Warriors attempt to fill the considerable vacuum left by Addin Fonua-Blake.
The marquee prop is expected to be out for at least four months, after undergoing knee surgery this week on a fractured patella.
Fonua-Blake's unique qualities are difficult to replace, but his fellow Tongan Murdoch-Masila probably bears the closest resemblance, in terms of his ability to bend the line and make metres after contact.
He doesn't have much recent experience at prop – just three starts in the front row from more than 120 games between 2016 and 2020 – but wouldn't rule it out.
"I'm not too fussed," said Murdoch-Masila. "I'm quite happy to play wherever I can, if it's in the middle [or] the edge."
The Warriors are not dwelling on Fonua-Blake's absence, though there is a realisation that it will take a collective effort to replicate his impact.
"There has been a bit of talk - just certain players have to step up their game," said Murdoch-Masila. "[The coach] has definitely said that to me and it is something that I have taken on. Hopefully with the help of a few of the boys, we should be sweet."
Murdoch-Masila has been a standout in the first five rounds, as a battering ram off the bench.
He has proved a wise investment, and allayed fears about his ability to adapt to the NRL.
His last full season in Australia was in 2013, as injuries restricted him to just six games in 2014, before he left for Super League.
That's a big challenge for a 30-year-old, but Murdoch-Masila has so far managed it.
He's already got two tries and three line breaks and is averaging around 60 running metres, from spells of around 40 minutes. His ongoing presence will be vital, as he continues to re-adjust to the game in the southern hemisphere.
"I'm pushing myself along, still trying to keep up with these boys," said Murdoch-Masila. "I'm still finding my feet, it's a lot different to what I am used to."
"The speed is almost similar, but the physicality is a lot more intense. It helps [at the Warriors] with the bigger boys at training and we have got our two wingers as props. I could always be better, I just have to keep being consistent."
New signing Reece Walsh completed his first training on Tuesday after his move from Brisbane and left an instant impression.
"He was running around at fullback," said Murdoch-Masila. "He was a bit nippy and fast; it made my ankles hurt, seeing him run around."
Hooker Wayde Egan said the teenager will have a vital development year in 2021.
"He's a great young kid, very humble, asking a lot of questions [and] already seemed pretty smart," said Egan. "He's a good back up for Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] and he can learn the game under him this year."
Ahead of Sunday's game against the Dragons (4pm NZT), the Warriors have been bolstered by the return of props Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Bunty Afoa from suspension, while Peta Hiku is back after two games out with a knee problem.
Hiku is listed on the right wing – in place of the injured David Fusitu'a (hamstring), while Afoa is on the interchange bench.
Second rower Eliesa Katoa, who has struggled to reproduce the form of his rookie season, has been replaced by Josh Curran, who will make his first appearance of 2021 and only his sixth since 2019.
Tohu Harris has been retained in the front row, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will bring up a century of matches for the club.
Warriors team vs Dragons:
2. Peta Hiku
3. Adam Pompey
4. Marcelo Montoya
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Kodi Nikorima
7. Sean O'Sullivan
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Wayde Egan
10. Tohu Harris
11. Josh Curran
12. Jack Murchie
13. Jazz Tevaga
14. Ben Murdoch-Masila
15. Bunty Afoa
16. Kane Evans
17. Paul Turner
18. Rocco Berry
20. Tom Ale
21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
22. Taniela Otukolo