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Hingano over bench disappointment

After being overlooked to fill the vacant role at halfback following Shaun Johnson's injury, Ata Hingano is refusing to dwell on the decision and is eager to make the most of his time as a makeshift dummy-half. 

‌Earlier this year Hingano was the first-choice option to play in the halves on occasions when Kieran Foran was absent, and was widely expected to be given first crack at the No.7 jersey after Johnson ruptured his PCL in Round 19.

However with coach Stephen Kearney opting for fellow Junior Warriors graduate Mason Lino, Hingano has been left to play a limited utility role off the bench, but is refusing to complain.

"I guess I can say I was disappointed [to miss out on starting at halfback], but I am not surprised," Hingano told ahead of Friday night's clash against the Cronulla Sharks at Mount Smart Stadium.

"It's been a tricky one to kind of settle with, but with 'Mase' coming up, I had no problems with it, he was just as capable, as you saw on the weekend, to do the job.

"Mase has been killing it in [reserve grade]."

With starting hooker Issac Luke often able to play the full 80 minutes, the utility player on the Warriors' bench hasn't even been required to take the field at times in 2017.

Last week in a 24-12 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium Hingano was used for only 10 minutes.

Dummy-half remains a foreign position for the 20-year-old, who has played as a half all through the junior grades, and he admitted his inexperience was to blame for a botched play three minutes from time in Townsville where he allowed Solomone Kata to attempt an ill-fated barge over on last tackle rather than setting up for a kick.

"I knew it was last tackle, it was on me that play," Hingano said.

"Me and 'Solo' talked about it after the game and he thought it was tackle four, hence why he was being aggressive and pushing me out.

"If someone does that, I guess being new to hooker I was passive with it, it should have been Foz's (Foran) ball, but it's a learning curve for next time to not let that happen again.

"I haven't played much dummy-half but 'Mooks' (Kearney) sees that I take pride in my defence so I kind of think that's why I am there, so when I come in I can bring some energy."

Meanwhile Kearney praised Lino for his performance last week, in what was just his fourth NRL Telstra Premiership match and his first in almost two years.

Lino finished the game with nine runs for 90 metres, with his long kicking game a feature.

"I thought for the most part, and given the time he has had away from first grade, I thought he brought a real calmness to the group and I was impressed," Kearney said.

"Now it is about making sure that he improves on that performance and puts his best foot forward on Friday night."


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