Star signing Feleti Mateo says close mate Krisnan Inu is 'shattered' to be left of the Warriors' season-opening side to face the pair's former club the Parramatta Eels at a chocker Eden Park on Saturday.
In the only minor shock, Inu, one of the trump off-season recruits, was left out of the 18-man squad on Tuesday.
Championship-winning junior fullback Glen Fisiiahi will make his NRL debut. His irrepressible pre-season form has ousted Inu, incumbent speedster Kevin Locke and Bill Tupou for the right wing spot.
The 20-year-old Junior Kiwi and NYC star scored 20 tries in 26 matches last year and crossed the chalk five times in four 2011 trials.
"I'm pretty close to Kris. He's pretty shattered that he didn't make the team but I guess that's footy," Mateo said at the team's launch.
"To [coach] Ivan [Cleary's] credit he's picked a wonderful team. Glen Fisiiahi has been killing him [Inu] in the trials. Everyone's seen what he could do last year in the 20s. He's an exciting young talent and I can't wait to see him out there."
While named in the back-row alongside skipper Simon Mannering and Micheal Luck, Mateo has been issued a licence to thrill. Expect the unexpected. He will threaten from first and second receiver, on both sides of the paddock, as well as in the pack.
"Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing," the dangerous ball-player joked of his style of play. "He's [Ivan] given me guide lines as to where he wants me. It's more of a roving role and I'll get my hands on the ball as much as possible."
It's not just fans who are excited to see what Mateo brings. Kiwis second-rower Lewis Brown, named on the bench, described his potential.
"He's compared to [former Warriors superstar] Ali Lauitiiti," Brown beamed. "A lot of people have wanted a back-rower like that. He's like having another half out there."
Mateo is more reserved in his early expectations. Much will depend on fitness. After a gruelling pre-season and with a lot of miles under his belt, he's 'probably the fittest I've been in my life'.
But he acknowledges it's going to take a while before he plays big minutes.
As well as Mateo, hooker Shaun Berrigan will make his club debut from the bench with Aaron Heremaia starting.
Last year's halves pairing of five-eight James Maloney and Brett Seymour have been retained and Joel Moon gets first crack at filling Brent Tate's vacated right-centre role.
Close to 30,000 tickets have already been sold for the first NRL match at Auckland's home of rugby union and the club is hopeful of a record 35,000-strong crowd.
Mateo was expecting no love from his Stephen Kearney-coached former club.
1. Lance Hohaia, 2. Glen Fisiiahi, 3. Joel Moon, 4. Jerome Ropati, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. James Maloney, 7. Brett Seymour, 8. Sam Rapira, 9. Aaron Heremaia, 10. Russell Packer, 11. Simon Mannering (c), 12. Feleti Mateo, 13. Micheal Luck (vc)
Interchange: 14. Shaun Berrigan, 15. Jacob Lillyman, 16. Ben Matulino, 17. Lewis Brown, 18. Steve Rapira