Stat Attack: Warriors turn once again to Lino
The Warriors announced themselves as legitimate Telstra Premiership contenders when they thumped the Sydney Roosters in round four with that game also signalling the arrival of young halfback Mason Lino.
With star No.7 Shaun Johnson in and out of the side in recent weeks through injury, coach Stephen Kearney has turned again to Lino.
And why not when the 24-year-old has not only filled the gap but excelled in the role during his three previous starting appearances.
He's scored two tries, added a try assist, and kicked 10 goals towards his 2-1 win-loss record.
The Warriors are looking for that strike rate again from Lino for their Saturday night return bout with, coincidently, the Roosters in Auckland after Johnson suffered an ankle injury in last weekend's emphatic 26-4 win over the Wests Tigers.
Lino finished the round four 30-6 triumph over the Roosters with a personal points tally of 18 from a try and seven-from-seven goals.
After further strong performances against the Dragons and Storm, Kearney admitted his younger half was creating "a genuine selection headache" prior to Johnson's return last week.
"I'm really excited to play against the Roosters again, I'm getting more and more confident and obviously last time we got a good two points there," Lino said.
"In saying that, you're as good as your last game and if you watched that Melbourne game, that probably wasn't my best so I'll be trying to redeem myself after that.
"We got exposed a bit on our edges in that one but we have really worked on that area of our game as a group and hopefully we put it together on Saturday."
The one-time Samoan international has validated much of the hype surrounding him when he came out of the Warriors under-20s system.
He credits much of his development to veteran play maker Blake Green coming across to the club after stints with Manly and Storm.
"This year I'm definitely a lot more confident and credit there has to go to Greeny and Stacey (Jones), they helped me a lot with my game during the preseason," Lino said.
"Greeny has helped me stay a lot more calm on the field. Obviously when we are playing together he shoulders the bulk of the playmaking so I just become sort of Shaun's role, obviously I can't do what he can do, but I do my best."
Green said the transition between halves partners was becoming effortless.
"We have had plenty of time together on the practise field me and Mason and obviously three games this year when Shaun's been out," Green said.
"He's a great play maker Mason and he brings a lot of energy so it's pretty easy for him to slot in. We have a pretty healthy squad in terms of depth here and everyone does a job when they are called upon."
The Warriors have won their past four straight against the Roosters.