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NRL Trials: Warriors v Storm

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The New Zealand Warriors will take a punt and shift superstar winger David Fusitu'a into the centres this season in a bid to increase his involvement in attack.     

Over the past few years the Tonga representative has established himself as one of the Telstra Premiership's elite wingers, and in 2018 he averaged a try a game across 23 appearances.

But last season he struggled to get involved – coinciding with the Warriors' move to favour the opposite side of the field in attack after Shaun Johnson's departure to Cronulla – and in 16 games, Fusitu'a managed just five tries. 

After playing him at right centre during Saturday's 18-16 trial loss to the Storm, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney confirmed his plans to make it a full-time move.  

"I reckon he can be a real threat with the footy in particular in the centre position," Kearney said of Fusitu'a.

"I think his work with the footy in terms of being able to get an offload away, or a pass away, is probably underrated.

"I think he has certainly got the capability to be able to do that and that's a big part of bringing him a position closer to the ball.

Match Highlights: Warriors v Storm

"He's a big body obviously too, he's hard to handle. I think it will work well for him."

Fusitu'a is no stranger to playing in the centres, having scored 12 tries in 19 starts there for the Warriors between 2015-2017.

In limited minutes against the Storm, he had some nice touches in attack but struggled a couple of times with defensive reads. 

With the right wing spot now vacant, 2019 rookie Patrick Herbert looms as the leading contender to fill the void, while fellow youngsters Adam Pompey and Taane Milne are also likely to feature in Kearney's thinking.

After scoring the seventh-fewest points in the competition last year, the Warriors showed glimpses of improvements in their attack in the Palmerston North trial, particularly when frontline hookers Karl Lawton and Wayde Egan were on the park.

Livewire five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita was also among their best performers, playing the majority of the match and serving as the Warriors' dominant playmaker in the absence of Blake Green.

Ahead of Harris-Tavita's likely showdown with Kodi Nikorima in Sunday's final trial against the Wests Tigers in Rotorua, which will decide who starts the season in the No.6 jersey, Egan said Harris-Tavita was making all the right moves.  

"I thought Chanel was really good out there and he controlled the ship and got the boys around the park well," Egan told

"I think Chanel is pretty confident going into this year and he's picked up in his leadership, which can only be good for us."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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