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Lewis's versatility credit to Panthers

Sharks utility Luke Lewis has acquired plenty of skills over the years thanks to his uncanny ability to adapt to almost every position on the rugby league field. Credit: Col Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos.

Veteran Cronulla Sharks player Luke Lewis has a lot to be thankful for during his 12-year stint with the Penrith Panthers.

Ahead of his first game against his old club since moving to the Shire at the end of 2012, Lewis opened up on his capacity to play almost every position on the rugby league field - a skill he crafted during his time at the foot of the mountains.

Lewis's time at the Panthers produced several memorable moments that has made up the majority of his 234-game career. 

He won a premiership ring as a fleet-footed winger for the Panthers in 2003 and then seven years later, the 2010 Dally M Lock of the Year award still sits nicely on his mantelpiece at home. 

Now settled into Cronulla's second row, the current New South Wales and Australian back-rower has revealed that he actually enjoys the freedom - and the challenge, of filling a variety of roles on the field. 

"It's good that sometimes you might be stuck in a position for a couple of weeks and then you get a different job giving to you. It gives you a new challenge then and sort of revamps everything," Lewis told NRL.com.

"It is good to see if you can [play different positions] which helps you mentally to see if you can adapt, and at the same time you get to see how the usual people in that position play and what they have to go through in different situations.

"I definitely enjoy that part of the game where you get moved around to play positions. It is literally my favourite part about it all."

How did it start though? How did Lewis come into such an arrangement that soon became his favourite part of playing the game? You can put that little tidbit down to his finger.

"Obviously I was playing on the wing and then went into the centres and back to the wing again [earlier on]. Then in a trial game in 2008 I broke my finger and came back in Round 4 off the bench and one of the forwards was injured and I was thrown into the middle," Lewis explains.

"I only played about 45 minutes there but the boys gave me players' player for that game and I suppose I haven't moved back, I've just kind of stayed there until this day and that was it. 

"Everything just changed. The game was always there in the middle whereas if you're stuck on the wing or in the centres the game could go missing."

While that fateful day against the Wests Tigers in 2008 saw the initial cogs begin turning for Lewis's move to the forwards, the Blacktown City junior actually played out the remainder of the year in the halves before making a permanent move to the pack.

These days he doesn't care. 

"I take it as it comes. If I'm needed to play anywhere, I'll play there," Lewis said. "I'll just do whatever is right for the team. I haven't thought about it though to be honest but like I said I'll always try my best for the team wherever I play."

The Panthers loss is clearly the Sharks gain and it could prove vital this Saturday afternoon when both clubs head to Bathurst's Carrington Park.

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