Sharpshooter Lino ready for old teammates

Mason Lino left the Warriors for an opportunity to play more first grade.

A shining light and goal-kicking ace for the nib Newcastle Knights last weekend, Lino has shown he belongs in the NRL.

The 25-year-old was brilliant in the 26-12 win over Brisbane with Lino playing a hand in a try, scoring another and kicking five goals.

It was his first try in Knights colours.

“It was pretty cool, honestly hearing the crowd scream was pretty emotional,” Lino said.

“I’m just happy we got the two points and we played pretty well.”

Scoring 14-points of his own, his goal-kicking was unflappable.

The playmaker nailed his kicks from the sideline and will again take control with Kalyn Ponga (calf) sidelined.

“I’m just practising with Kalyn most weeks and Barney (Mitch Barnett) as well, so that definitely helps,” he said.

“Just get a bit of repetition and just lucky on the day we hit them pretty well.”

This weekend the Knights host the Warriors.

They’re a team he came into grade with and spent four seasons with as part of their NRL system.

Boasting plenty of size in the middle and speed in the backs, it’s a challenge Lino is excited for.

“It will be fun,” he said of the game.

“I’ve got some really good friends there I’ve been talking to them over the last few weeks hoping I can get a chance against them and now I do, I’m just excited for it. They are too.

“Hopefully they don’t go too hard against me.”

Lino has now made four appearances for the Knights with last week’s game his breakout best.

He puts that down to increased fitness levels and confidence.

“Obviously, when I first played there I probably came in with not so much confidence, bit low on fitness as well,” Lino said.

“Now I’m fitter, I’m feeling a bit more confidence - it makes it a bit easier.

“Ju (Mitch Pearce) obviously there, really encourages me to take control when I can and when I need to be, and I think that worked out really well on the weekend.”