Over the last three seasons David Fusitu'a has established himself as one of the premier finishers in the NRL Telstra Premiership, and he isn't about to let a new centre partner change that this year.
In a rejigged New Zealand Warriors back line, Solomone Kata will shift to the right edge to join Fusitu'a – the NRL's reigning top try-scorer with 22 tries in as many regular season games last year – while Peta Hiku moves to left centre where he will partner Ken Maumalo.
Kata has been better known for own his damaging running game than his ability to put his winger away for four-pointers, but Fusitu'a said that won't cut it this year.
"Sol is a really skilful player and I know that he can pass, and I'll be in his ear, and he's told me to get in his ear if he doesn't pass me the ball," Fusitu'a said.
"I said to him, 'oh bro, even if you didn't tell me that I was going to be in your ear anyway'. We have got a good relationship where we can talk about those things openly and it's not awkward, it's just footy.
"We want to do things to help each other so we can both excel on that right edge."
All David Fusitu'a's 2018 tries
Although Kata has played almost exclusively on the left side in his 87 NRL appearances, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said signing off on the change had been a no-brainer, and he is excited to see what the two Mate Ma'a Tonga teammates can achieve together.
"Sol came to me and said he was a right-edge player who got shifted over to the left when Konrad [Hurrell] came into the team, so he demanded that he played on the right edge," Kearney said.
"It's been pretty seamless in terms of the transitioning of those individuals. They've got a closeness there and it's working out OK."
Despite coming off his best season last year, which included 106 average run metres per game and 19 total line breaks, Fusitu'a said he was eyeing improvements in his game ahead of the round one match against the Bulldogs in Auckland.
"My defensive game, the connection on the right edge… I feel like we let in quite a lot of tries [last year] and that just comes down to us being connected on the edge," Fusitu'a said.
"We have been working hard on it during this pre-season.
"I feel like I can improve on that with the talk and things like that. Just little parts where you feel like it's not too big, but it makes a difference.
"It was an awesome year last year, and this year is about putting a full stop on it and starting again."