Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary will keep a close eye on Tuimoala Lolohea’s performances in the NRL club’s spine before deciding what to do with him next season.
Lolohea had his best game for the Tigers since his mid-year move from the Warriors, in Sunday’s 33-12 win over Newcastle, as he linked directly with halfback Luke Brooks in the lead-up to three tries.
It was originally expected that the 22-year-old would play out the season at five-eighth, before shifting to fullback on the arrival of Josh Reynolds next season.
However those plans have been brought into question on the news that the Tigers are pursuing Roosters utility Connor Watson, who has long-term ambitions to play in the No.1 jersey.
“His best positions are No.6 and fullback,” Cleary said of Lolohea.
“He has been moved around a lot in his career, outside backs. He’s only played 50-odd games. He’s still only young.”
“We just wanted to give him half a season in the one position. Let him get accustomed to the team and play in that role.”
Lolohea was long considered one of the most prodigious young talents of the Warriors’ system.
However in 53 games at the club he found himself playing in every position in the backline, as well as off the bench, before spending time in reserve grade this year.
Since arriving at the Tigers, he has worn the No.6 jersey in every game while his halves combination with Brooks is now three games in and appears to be on the rise.
“He still hasn’t found his best footy,” Cleary said.
“If he gets some consistency in a position we’ll hopefully see the best of him.”