Warriors prop Bunty Afoa has nominated himself as the man to fill the void left by suspended big man Agnatius Paasi on Saturday night against the Brisbane Broncos in Auckland.
Paasi will miss the round 11 clash after taking an early guilty plea for a dangerous throw on Panthers winger Brian To'o, during the Warriors' 30-10 victory last week.
The suspension comes after the Paasi produced arguably his best performance of the year against Penrith, running for 114 metres, 45 of which came after contact, and scoring a try which saw him carry two defenders over the line from 12 metres out.
Such has been Paasi's dominance this year at training and in games that teammates have taken to calling him 'Alpha Agnatius', with Afoa keen to ensure his side don't lose that impact in his absence.
"I'll take [that role] on board and try and do the job well," Afoa told NRL.com.
"I try to replicate him every week, sometimes it doesn't happen, but I am really excited for this week.
Paasi carries three Panthers over the line
"Week in and week out we have been trying to be alphas, and 'Iggy' [Agnatius] has led us in the middle and we all just got on board and tried to follow him.
"He's had a massive impact on us middles, even at the start of the year when we were a bit shaky, he's led the way by running hard and tackling hard."
In his second season back at the Warriors following a three-year stint with the Gold Coast Titans, Paasi has averaged 95 run metres and 26 tackles across the first 10 games of 2019.
After leaving New Zealand with just one Telstra Premiership appearance to his name at the end of 2014, 27-year-old Paasi now finds himself as one of the senior props in coach Stephen Kearney's squad.
Interchange utility Jazz Tevaga told NRL.com Paasi had become a mentor to Afoa this year, with the pair forming a close bond on and off the field.
"We call Bunty Iggy's son… Iggy has taken Bunty under his wing, I think they room together and they even look the same with their hair styles," Tevaga said.
"Bunty has a good mentor there and I think it will be Bunty to step up this week, I'm pretty sure he will do a good job."
Efforts to contain Brisbane's forwards will likely centre on barnstorming Broncos prop Payne Haas, who comes off a huge performance against the representative-laden Roosters pack last week which included 221 metres, eight tackle breaks and a try.
Haas winds up from 10 metres out
That showing strengthened calls for NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler to include the 19-year-old in his plans for Origin I, and Afoa acknowledged containing Haas would be crucial at Mount Smart Stadium.
"I have only watched a couple of [Brisbane's] games but have heard Haas is going pretty well," Afoa told NRL.com.
"It will be a good challenge for us in the middle to go up against him.
"He's got a job to do, but I have got a job as well and that's to get the two points, and if he's stopping me then I have to try and push him away.
"They have got a young pack, that's the same as us, and they will lay that challenge for us.
"We need to take that personally and front up to them."