Off-season recruits Lachlan Burr and Leeson Ah Mau have wasted little time in proving their value to the New Zealand Warriors, standing out as two of the club's best through the first six games of 2019.
With both averaging over 90 run metres and 28 tackles per game, the pair have filled the void left by the retirement of Simon Mannering and the departure of James Gavet to the Newcastle Knights.
Burr hadn't played NRL Telstra Premiership football in over two years before he arrived in Auckland but has become a key figure in coach Stephen Kearney's starting forward pack, averaging 47 minutes per game.
"I had an awareness of what he was capable of… we just didn't see the best of it over the last few years when he was at a couple of other NRL clubs," Kearney said of Burr.
"He's been fantastic. That's why we leave him out on the field, because he gets the job done and he's doing it really well at the moment.
"He's a good balance with the middle group that we have. He adds something a little different, he has good leg speed over the ground and works really hard in defence."
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After struggling to nail down a permanent spot at Canterbury-Bankstown and the Gold Coast, Burr spent all of last year in reserve grade before being picked up by the Warriors.
The 26-year-old former Australian Schoolboys representative said he had exceeded his own expectations this season.
"To be honest I wasn't expecting to even play the first round, I just sort of wanted to get through pre-season and see how things went," Burr said.
"But the way things have gone I am playing big minutes and I'm loving it.
"I am getting a lot of footy which is what I came here to do."
After starting his NRL career with the Warriors in 2009, Ah Mau returned to the club a decade later as a capped Kiwi international with 179 NRL games under his belt.
Now 29, he has a two-year-old daughter Lilly-Rose and is expecting a second in May, with the chance to be closer to family in Auckland the deciding factor in his decision to leave St George Illawarra after seven seasons.
"Just being around the family again has been good. It's good to have the kids grow up around their grandparents and to have people here to help my wife Rose while she is pregnant as well," Ah Mau told NRL.com.
"It's good to have that stability on and off the field.
"This club has changed a lot, but it's been good coming back."
Having used Ah Mau both off the interchange and in a starting role this year, Kearney praised his unique style of leadership.
"[Leeson] has brought a real calmness. He's a no-nonsense type of fella and player, he gets his job done with a great deal of effectiveness, but there's no real fuss," Kearney said.
"I like that type of player… he's a leader among the group in a quiet way."