Warriors closing in on centre solution
The Warriors will field their fourth different right centre in seven games this weekend against the Dragons, as they continue to search for answers in the troubled position.
The club had been chasing the signature of Manly's Peta Hiku, who was a standout in the Warriors' under 20s side in 2012, with the plan of converting him into a centre.
However coach Andrew McFadden confirmed mid-week that they were now out of the race for the utility back, believing he had re-signed with Manly.
It appears the New Zealand club have now shifted their focus to finding a suitable applicant internally, with powerhouse 20-year-old Ngani Laumape the latest to be given a shot in the number four jersey.
"I started off as a centre and am looking forward to moving back there, hopefully I can stay there," Laumape said.
"I want to prove that I can be one of the best centres in this competition.
"But I need to improve my decision making on defence and also working hard on getting into the game."
Watch the NRL LIVE with a 2-week free trial.
Get the NRL Digital Pass now!
Better known as a winger in the NRL, Laumape played centre in rugby union before converting to league, and according to McFadden has the potential to play there long term.
"If he does the job then most definitely," he said.
"I think he is a pretty composed kid. He has a lot of the same qualities that Konrad (Hurrell) has, he is going to get his opportunity to put his mark on the defensive side of it. I think he will handle it."
This week Hurrell became the latest player to vacate the right centre position, with McFadden pulling no punches in regards to the reasoning behind his demotion to the NSW Cup.
"Konrad obviously has a very good offensive game and brings a lot to the team," he said.
"But as I have said to him, he doesn't put the same weight on defence. He has got to go back and have a look at that; I know that he will get back to first grade.
"Konrad found some energy at the end to almost win us the game in attack [last week], but I thought there were opportunities in the game where he could have won it for us in defence, which he didn't take, it's as simple as that."
Making Laumape's job that bit harder this week is the fact that he will mark two international players in Gerard Beale and Brett Morris, and do so while paired up with rookie winger David Fusitua, who made his debut against the Dragons in Round 2.
"He is a good player, very physical and a tall bloke, I truly have belief 'Fus' and myself can do the job," Laumape said.
Impressive in his first NRL game of 2014 last week, Laumape notched 177 run metres and two tackle breaks from the wing against the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, despite Hiku now being off the radar, McFadden wouldn't rule out the idea of buying a centre for 2015.
"It could be (the case), it depends on the centres here and how they put their hand up. It has been an issue here at the club for a little while."
So far this season the Warriors have the competition's highest player turnover, with 27 used in comparison to the table-topping Titans' 21.