Newcastle playmaker Mason Lino has no regrets about leaving the Warriors as he prepares to face his former club for the first time on Saturday night.
Lino's off-season departure at the Warriors came just five weeks before marquee man Shaun Johnson moved to the Sharks in abrupt fashion, leaving the Auckland-based club scrambling for a big-name replacement.
Lino had a season left to run on his existing deal across the Tasman but opted for a career and lifestyle change to the Hunter despite the likes of Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson already being on the books.
Fast forward nine months and Lino has become a handy back-up for the Knights, helping ease their representative and injury woes.
He's also adapted to life in Australia with the help of Newcastle and Samoan teammates James Gavet, Hymel Hunt, Herman Ese'ese and Sione Mata'utia.
"There's no regrets there," Lino told NRL.com.
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"I could have stayed at the Warriors for another season but liked what Browny offered me in terms of what he could do with my game and I'm enjoying my time at the club in a different system.
"A lot of people have asked me about Shaun but there are no guarantees. It's been good to make a move and it's worked out for them now with Kodi over there.
"I've had to adjust to living in another country with my wife and we're really enjoying it."
Match: Knights v Warriors
Round 16 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Lino delivered a man-of-the-match performance against the Broncos last start with a try assist for Shaun Kenny-Dowall. He also kicked five goals from as many attempts and finished off an individual bust from Jesse Ramien to ensure the victory.
The Knights endured a tumultuous start to the week, losing Kalyn Ponga for at least a fortnight to a calf injury before players Mitchell Pearce and David Klemmer were called up for NSW duty to go with Daniel Saifiti and Tim Glasby's Origin selections on Monday.
Lino now looms as a key against his former side.
"I'm playing with a bit of confidence now compared to when I first came in for my club debut and got the knee injury," Lino said.
"It's not too bad a role at the moment, I get excited with every opportunity. I'm enjoying my footy and the chance to do it at the Knights.
"Hopefully I get a few more over next month or so and get the team to the finals.
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"The Warriors ... that will be fun. I've been good mates with most of them so they'll probably try and look for me in the defence."
While he won't be out there alongside him, Lino couldn't help but add what Pearce had done for his game.
"It's so much easier, he's the brains of the team and I just play eyes up," he said.
"He's yelling at me all the time but it's positive stuff. He's always telling me to keep my eyes up and if it's on to take it on. I get a lot of confidence from that."