Ata Hingano steps out for his seventh NRL appearance tonight - and his fifth this season - fresh from re-signing with the Vodafone Warriors until the end of the 2020 NRL season.
It’s a big night for the 20-year-old Pakuranga Jaguars junior as he eyes his first NRL outing on Mount Smart Stadium since the second-round encounter with Melbourne.
Tonight’s 16th-round clash against Canterbury-Bankstown (8.00pm) will coincidentally be his first starting appearance since facing the same side in the third round at Forysyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on March 17.
There was ultimate disappointment for Hingano and his team-mates that night as the Bulldogs came from 10-12 down to win 24-12.
He was used in the first three rounds while the experienced Kieran Foran was still working his way back following shoulder surgery last year.
After making his club debut against Gold Coast in the fifth round, Foran put together a run of 10 straight games during which time the Vodafone Warriors had a 5-5 win-loss output.
However, a thigh injury picked up late in the return game against the Titans on June 10 has kept Foran out tonight – he was close to being cleared – so giving Hingano a start.
He heads into the match buoyed by an eye-catching cameo in Robina after coming on to replace Foran in the 63rd minute.
He threw a nice cut out pass to put Ken Maumalo across in the corner only for the try to be questionably rubbed out for a forward pass. It seemed flat at worst.
In the final seconds he combined sweetly with Shaun Johnson, running a great angled line for his first NRL try.