Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has moved skipper Moses Mbye in his team's line-up but denies the Origin utility is on his way out of the club.
Mbye returned from Queensland duty to find himself starting in the centres, rather than at his customary fullback position in the 28-0 loss to the Raiders at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
The reshuffle by Maguire seemed to go hand-in-hand with a report by NRL.com during the week that Mbye's shift from fullback, and the availability of Penrith's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the open market, was placing pressure on Mbye's tenure at the Tigers.
But Maguire denied there was anything more sinister behind Mbye's shift to centre than just trying to jazz things up in the Wests Tigers' attack.
"We're just looking at various areas of our game to improve the team. We've come off three losses so we're looking at different ways of how we can improve," Maguire said.
When asked how he rated Mbye's form, the answer was short and to the point: "He's been going well."
Moving Mbye around only about improving team for Maguire
There have been other reports linking Mbye and Watene-Zelezniak to the Cowboys, who are in need of a fullback. But Maguire would not entertain the idea of a release for the Noosa Pirates junior.
"Never … Moey is our captain, so I'm not quite sure where you're going with that one," Maguire said. "But Moses is our captain and he will be moving forward."
As for Watene-Zelezniak, who was formally released by Penrith on Friday, Maguire's story was the same as previous weeks he's been questioned about his New Zealand Kiwis captain.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Raiders
"I've spoken about Dallin … whether he's been released or not it's been spoken about a fair bit already.
"Look, I've got a connection with Dallin but at the end of the day you've got be able to fit him into a salary cap. There's plenty of teams that look at quality players and we're no different."
Maguire's attention is more centred on how to pull his team out of a rut – three losses from their last four games.
"It was disappointing. But we need to get our heads down, move forward and push hard with what we've been practising," he said.
Coincidentally the Wests Tigers are in Townsville next week to face the Cowboys at 1300Smiles Stadium.
There are two players in some doubt – five-eighth Benji Marshall copped a stray elbow in his eye and centre Mahe Fonua damaged his foot.
Maguire hoping to reunite with DWZ
"He (Marshall) came off with a bit of a whack in the eye but I think he'll be alright. He'll probably have to get a bit of a scan to make sure.
"(Fonua) is a bit of a worry that one. It's a foot injury so we'll have to get a scan on that too."
But some good news came with Chris Lawrence returning to the NRL after three months out with horrific facial injuries from a training accident.
"It was good to see him out there. He had a bit of a tough night but he's a competitor. It's so good to see him out there playing from where he has been," Maguire said.
"On a tough night it was good to see him running around and performing for the team."