Matt Harris, Queensland Correspondent
Josh Hoffman says the pressure of wearing the famous Broncos No.6 had weighed on his shoulders and he is relieved to playing back in his preferred fullback role.
Hoffman started the season at five-eighth and played 15 games in the halves next to Ben Hunt as Broncos coach Anthony Griffin looked to accommodate the arrival of Ben Barba.
Griffin's experiment was aborted before the Round 19 clash against the Warriors with Hoffman switching places with Barba in order to spark life out the 2012 Dally M winner.
The outgoing Broncos coach is unlikely to swap the pair again before the end of the season, lifting the pressure off Hoffman and allowing the Kiwi international more space to work with.
"I feel a lot more freedom at the back. In the six jersey there was a bit of pressure at the start [of the season] trying to fill the boots of 'Locky' [Darren Lockyer]," Hoffman said.
"There was pressure on myself but also Benny Hunt in trying to get the job done. I guess a lot of people had a bit of disbelief in whether I could do the job or not, but in saying that it's really good to be at the back again and I'm enjoying my time there.
"Playing five-eighth there's a lot more pressure on myself to do that job. Now wearing that No.1 jersey I feel a lot more freedom and a lot of the pressure it taken off my back."
Although the 26-year-old says enjoyed his time in the No.6, the fullback role is one he wants in the future.
"It's somewhere where I'd like to look at long term. Fullback is [a position] I didn't grow up playing, as I moved along in my career Anthony Griffin moulded me into that fullback role so I think it's something I'd like to look at long term," he said.
"I enjoyed the physical side of things in defence [at five-eighth] and also being in the front line and getting my hands on the ball a bit more. Now that I'm playing fullback it allows me to roam around a bit more and work on my kick-return."
Hoffman's future with the Broncos remains uncertain with Canberra fullback Anthony Milford's arrival due next season and talk of Knights custodian Darius Boyd following incoming coach Wayne Bennett back to Red Hill.
Hoffman is contracted until the end of 2015 and is determined to succeed playing fullback in order to send his long-time coach Griffin out a winner.
"It's pretty important to try and perform well towards the end of the season," he said.
"There's not a lot of time left in the season to show that, but in saying that I think a lot of us boys have really got to think about our own jobs and concentrate on what's ahead of us.
"There's a tough road ahead and not many games in the season so we've got to do the best we can to send our coach out in the best way."