As the Warriors this week counted the loss of a third prop in the space of less than a fortnight, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck implored the club's young front-rowers to put their best foot forward in the final audition for NRL spots this Sunday.
Following confirmation that Jackson Frei is set to miss the season after rupturing his ACL in last Saturday's loss to the Storm – combined with the earlier loss of Bunty Afoa to the same injury and 85-game prop Sam Lisone's release to join the Gold Coast Titans – the Warriors' prop stocks look alarmingly thin.
Ahead of the club's final trial in Rotorua against Wests Tigers, Tuivasa-Sheck said it's now up to the emerging group of front-rowers in Auckland to prove they deserve a shot.
"First big boy to put their hand up, they get the shot, so I'm excited to see who comes up," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"What I have been putting out there is we want someone just to go after it.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Storm
"We have enough ball-players in our team, so I am looking for a bit of grunt in them and to just be aggressive in the middle.
"Whoever puts their hand up to do that and wants to do the hard work on [both] sides of the ball, they will get the shot."
Experienced front-rowers Leeson Ah Mau and Agnatius Paasi are named to start against the Tigers, while former Junior Kiwi Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard and Indigenous All Stars big man Jamayne Taunoa-Brown will both see game time at prop when they come on from the interchange.
First big boy to put their hand up, they get the shotRoger Tuivasa-Sheck
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said despite naming a 25-man squad he will be keeping interchanges to a minimum and looking to leave a number of frontline stars on the park for the majority of the match.
"There's a couple of guys that need some fairly significant time… some of them haven't played football this pre-season," Kearney said.
"Wayde [Egan] had 20 minutes last week so I will be looking to play him a bit more time. Tohu [Harris] and Leeson, I'll try and get a fair chunk of time into them and Roger.
"Ideally we will be treating it as a dress rehearsal for round one."
Meanwhile, at Wednesday's media session in Auckland, Tuivasa-Sheck weighed in on All Blacks star Ardie Savea's revelation that he is considering a move across to the NRL.
Warriors' top five tries of 2019
Savea told former Warriors and Penrith playmaker Isaac John's Ice Project podcast that he wanted to play league and later revealed representing Samoa – which isn't possible for him under World Rugby's strict eligibility rules which restrict players to one country – was a driving factor.
Before switching to league from union himself, RTS played alongside Savea for the New Zealand Schoolboys in the 15-man game, in a side which also included former Warrior Ngani Laumape.
"Ardie is just a champion athlete to be honest. He would kill it if he made his away across," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"I truly believe he is just someone who challenges himself and he's always looking for a new challenge. If he does I wish him all the best and hopefully he comes here [to the Warriors].
"It'd be awesome for someone like that to play [for Samoa] and sort of lift it for the boys over there."