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'We're both targets': Turbo prepares for Mbye centre switch

Tom Trbojevic says he is as much a defensive target as prospective centre opponent Moses Mbye as the pair look increasingly likely to square off with less than 20 games out wide between them. understands Mbye has trained at left centre in each of Queensland's field sessions ahead of Wednesday's decider, with Michael Morgan on restricted duties due to concussion protocols and a shift back to his old utility role increasingly on the cards.

Mbye has played his last two Wests Tigers games at centre, making for nine in total in what is regarded as the game's toughest defensive position across seven years of first grade.

By the same token, Morgan has started just the three Origins at centre in his career, while Trbojevic's stunning hat-trick in Perth came in his 10th outing at centre having played almost all his NRL career at fullback for Manly.

It was Mal Meninga who first returned the Sea Eagles star to centre for Australia at the 2017 World Cup, and in acknowledging the defensive pressure of the role Trbojevic expects both teams to look for points down his right edge.

"I think [Mbye] has played a bit of centre the last few weeks as well, but no it's not his first position either and he's going through the same transition as me and we're in similar spots," Trbojevic told

Maroons utility Moses Mbye.
Maroons utility Moses Mbye. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"We could target him, but they can also target me like that so it goes both ways. Those split-second decisions at centre, they can be the biggest in the game, so there is pressure in that sense.

"Obviously defence is the focus and that's what I work on the most going in there.

"Having such great players around me, especially Friz [Tyson Frizell] and Fergo [Blake Ferguson], that helps the most and makes my job easier."

NSW hooker Damien Cook meanwhile expects Mbye to handle the new role with aplomb, believing centre to be the Queenslander's best position when they played together at the Bulldogs.

"I played with Moses at Canterbury for a few years and I honestly believe that centre was always going to be his best position," Cook said.

"He played really well as a half at the Dogs and now he's been a fullback at the Tigers so he's obviously very versatile.

"He's a very strong ball-runner and he's got ball skills as well. He's strong through the body and I did always wonder if given the one-on-one chances you can get out in the centres, if he would go well given a run out wide there.

"But I think his ball-playing at times has kept him in the halves and those playmaker roles so I guess we'll see how he goes."

Turbo-charged Tom reflects on Origin hat-trick

Such is Trbojevic's own form on the Origin stage, Brad Fittler declared he simply had to get him into his game two 17 somewhere with James Tedesco occupying the No.1 jersey.

In turn Trbojevic was given a licence to roam in-field from right centre as a second fullback, the result being three tries all scored through the middle in the Blues' 38-6 romp.

The 22-year-old is more than happy to play wherever needed in representative teams, and says there are parts of Tedesco's game that just can't be learned.

"It's hard to pick up that freakish ability to be honest with you," Trbojevic said.

"At times you just sit back and admire him. The way he beats defenders, he's very gifted and I don't know if it can be replicated.

"You want to be the best player you can be. I play fullback and I want to be the best fullback, but right now Teddy's there and he's the best player in the game so I'm happy to work around him."

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