Opportunity is what every player seeks and Mason Lino will depart the New Zealand Warriors after signing with the Newcastle Knights.
Lino, who has played in fewer than 20 games for the Warriors since making his NRL debut may be presented with more opportunities at the Knights.
Although they made the decision to release Lino early, it was not necessarily an easy decision for the Warriors.
“It’s not an easy decision to let Mason go because he is the epitome of a true club man and we all love having him around,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Brian Smith.
“He has been totally dedicated to the Vodafone Warriors but we didn’t want to stand in the way of him having a look at options with other clubs.”
The club knew it was only right to allow Lino to pursue other opportunities and wished him all the best.
“His opportunities for NRL football have been limited here and he has more than earned the right to look at the chance of more regular exposure,” continued Smith.
“While we’re sorry to see Mason go we’re also excited for him and wish him all the best.”
The Warriors are a proud club and club coach Stephen Kearney praised Lino for respecting those during his time at the club.
“Mason has always provided a wonderful example to everyone at the club,” he said.
“He has been totally loyal and supportive in all he does,” said Kearney.
“When we needed him, he came into the side and did a really good job for us every time.
“He certainly goes with our blessing and leaves a tremendous legacy.”
Coming through the ranks at the club, Lino has played at all levels for the Warriors and is thankful for the chances he received.
“It’s tough leaving the club because it has been my home and I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had here but I’m also excited about what’s ahead for me,” he said.
Able to play five-eighth and halfback, the signing of Lino by the Knights now presents some healthy competition.
“Mason is a talented young man,” Knights Player List Manager Troy Pezet said.
“He provides us with good depth for Mitchell, Kalyn and Connor.”