Uncertainty around Lolohea's Nines role
While Tuimoala Lolohea knows most of his 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season will be spent on the wing, the 22-year-old Warrior said he has no idea what role he will play at this weekend's Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
Since making his first-grade debut in 2014, Lolohea's versatility as a player has seen him become the Warriors 'Mr Fix-It', at times playing fullback, wing, centre, five-eighth, halfback and even off the interchange.
But while new coach Stephen Kearney has confirmed Lolohea isn't in contention for a spot in the halves to start the NRL season, the 2015 Kiwis representative is hopeful he might get to spend some time playmaking over the two days at Eden Park.
"I am not too sure yet what role I will play, I guess I will be helping the halves out and also playing a bit on the wing," Lolohea told NRL.com.
"We will see what happens, but either way I am looking forward to an exciting weekend.
"I'm just looking forward to getting onto that field this weekend and doing some business."
Despite having the opportunity to play alongside star halfback Shaun Johnson at the tournament, Lolohea said he wasn't viewing the Nines as an opportunity to try and change Kearney's stance on him playing in the halves this year.
"I guess it is a bit different playing in the halves at the Nines compared to in the NRL anyway," he said.
"It's a good opportunity to show what skills you have… but I have my role [on the wing] that I have been playing in the pre-season."
Meanwhile Lolohea expected the quality of the 2017 Nines tournament to be even better than in previous years, with several clubs bringing squads stacked with NRL talent.
The Warriors made it through to the decider last year before losing to Parramatta, with Lolohea anticipating the Eels will be right in the mix once again thanks to the presence of 2016 Team of the Tournament members Corey Norman, Semi Radradra and Bevan French.
"There's a couple of teams who have plenty of NRL experience in them. Parramatta are in our pool and have plenty of size about them, so I am really looking forward to that game," he said.
"I guess there is the redemption factor, it would be nice to get one back over Parramatta after last year, but the most important thing is to have fun, that is what the weekend is all about."