Rossdog takes the focus off try-scoring
Popular Knights winger Nathan Ross may have "failed" his pre-season goal of starting at fullback or centre, but he wants to use the skills gained in an off-season training in those positions to make himself a more complete winger.
Speaking to NRL.com after his brave effort to play through a nasty ankle injury in a narrow loss against the Rabbitohs, Ross was upbeat about his development as a player despite falling short in his bid to change roles heading into season 2017.
"This year I've actually taken my focus of try-scoring away," Ross said.
"If the situation arises obviously I know how to finish them."
It's no understatement – Ross's Round 16 try against the Dragons last year was among the most stunning finishes you'll ever see while the 28-year-old has already crossed four times in two games to kick off his 2017 campaign.
"For me, more so with the way the team's going and the way the club culture is going, you'll be seeing me do a lot more selfless acts," he said.
"I'll still be getting those hard carries but if I'm on a two-on-one situation I'll be making a smart decision. Sometimes I might be taking the ball myself and other times it will be draw and pass."
Ross is unafraid to say he fell short of his pre-season goal of starting the year in a new position but can put a positive spin on the situation.
"Two of my goals in the pre-season were to start at fullback or start in the centres. I missed out on both of them but I learned a lot doing pre-season in both those positions," he said.
"One of my biggest philosophies is setting goals and learning to fail successfully. Even though I didn't get the nod in those two positions I've learned a lot from those positions and so now when I'm on the wing and in a situation I know what ball a centre might want back or I know what fullback might need me to run with him. It's all about evolving."
It's the same kind of selflessness and team-first mentality that saw Ross play through serious pain and discomfort – and risk of further injury – when he stayed on the park after suffering a nasty-looking ankle injury against the Rabbitohs on Saturday.
Asked if he was still targeting a positional switch given plenty of the club's other fullback options – such as Brendan Elliott, Dane Gagai and Pete Mata'utia – are also proficient in the wing and/or centre positions, Ross quickly said he was keen to keep building the combinations that have now started to develop this year.
"My combination with Pete Mata'utia, I couldn't feel any more comfortable than being out on the field with Trent [Hodkinson], Pete and Sione [Mata'utia]," he said.
"That edge, I've got tremendous confidence in them and I wouldn't want to move from where I am because we all have tremendous confidence in each other and we all complement each other in our games."