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Gidley's shift to halves pays off for Knights

Gidley's shift to halves pays off for Knights

Hardly anybody in Newcastle has questioned the solid utility value of their captain Kurt Gidley when it comes to performing for the Knights.

It's the reason why nobody flinched when he was moved back to fullback to fill the void left by Darius Boyd in Round 13 and the same applied when it was revealed that the usual hooker would be shifting to halfback against North Queensland on Monday night, a move that paid instant dividends for both himself and his team during Newcastle's 36-28 victory.

Named Man of the Match following his performance against the Cowboys, Gidley appeared simply relieved to be celebrating his team's first win in 72 days rather than discuss his move back into the backline.

"We're just happy to get the win. We have been busting our bums for a while now and we have gone close a couple of times but it's just nice to get the two points – [to] relax and enjoy it and sing the song again and have a good night," Gidley told reporters after the game.

"I enjoyed it [at halfback]. I enjoy getting my hands on the ball because I probably haven't been getting a great deal of runs when I was playing hooker and it just gets me behind the bigger boys to motivate them and keep it going so I enjoyed it."

With Gidley well drilled on a number of positions on the field, the capability to chop and change Gidley's role in the team is a bonus according to Knights mentor Wayne Bennett. The supercoach said Gidley would do a job no matter where he plays him, though he has struggled to work out where his captain is best utilised.

"One of the difficult things for me being here is that Kurt's been injured the last two years and we kind of went on with life without him. Whether he played fullback or halfback and even then he was playing five-eighth when I arrived here, he got injured... and it happened again in the second season," Bennett said.

"Last week when he went back to fullback I was watching him at training and realised how much he was enjoying that role with a bit more freedom... and we lost enough games so I thought it wouldn't do any damage to morale or anything like that by making the change so I made it and I'm pleased with it."

While Gidley produced his best game of the season for the Knights, the most pleasing aspect for Bennett was the performance of Tyrone Roberts. 

The team's starting halfback for every game this season prior to Monday night, Roberts's relegation to the bench didn't seem to faze the 23-year-old and it showed in his solid performance in an unfamiliar interchange dummy-half role.

"I'm more pleased with the way Tyrone played," Bennett admitted. 

"He handled hooker really good and he's a really good player and he's young so he'll pick up a lot of pluses out of tonight The fact that he had a bit of responsibility off him as well will be good for his footy."

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