Cronulla halfback Jeff Robson has revealed livewire halves partner Ben Barba will play an on-field role similar to the style of former Sharks five-eighth Todd Carney.
Destined to be the club's new five-eighth from the moment he arrived in the Shire, Barba has impressed everyone at the club since his unceremonious departure from the Broncos, according to Robson, who said he was excited to play alongside the 25-year-old former Bronco and Bulldog.
"We're going to try and get him to play a similar game to Toddy, the running style kind of five-eighth. He's obviously a different player [to Carney] so we will have to tinker with that and work towards Benny's strengths," Robson told NRL.com.
"If we do that then it will work to my strengths as well. Once we work out which roles and plays suit us best, it will work out really well for the team. We have been training well since we've come back from Christmas break and we're only going to get better.
"Now that I'm starting to learn his style of play and the plays he likes to do best, hopefully now we can start building on [our partnership] leading into the beginning of the competition."
While Barba is more accustomed to playing fullback since making his first grade debut in 2008, he did play the final nine games of his Broncos career in the six jumper, ensuring his positional shift was an easy decision for coach Shane Flanagan.
Robson certainly had no concerns with Barba's shift to six, with the veteran insisting the former Dally M Medal winner's communication and attacking skills will shine, which would also make the halfback's life easier.
"He's actually a really good communicator which you have to be to play five-eighth. I don't think it will be too much of difference for him to slip into the six [from fullback] and communicate to the rest of the team and myself. He's been going really well with that," Robson said.
"I just need to lead the team and get us positioned where we need to be on the field, which will then allow me to link up with the likes of Benny and Mick Gordon out the back with the running style of play that they're best at.
"If we can do that then I think we will trouble teams because one of Ben's best assets is his running game. He's quick and elusive and quite powerful for a little bloke."
While it all sounds promising for the club, Sharks fans will have to wait a little longer to see this halves partnership in action if Robson has anything to do with it – with the 32-year-old not keen on playing in Auckland and Barba already all-but ruled out of the pre-season tournament by the club.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure I really even want to play in the Nines because I'm getting older these days and it's just another weekend I have to get through," Robson said.
"I actually was injured in our last trial game last year so I'm just hoping to get through the next few months unscathed."