Impressive young Warrior Tuimoala Lolohea is prepared to bide his time in his long-term goal of getting a regular spot in the halves.
Lolohea was this week named the NRL club’s rookie of the year and is a contender for the equivalent accolade at the Dally M awards.
The recognition comes after a season in which he showed his versatility, as the Warriors’ roller-coaster campaign dipped to ultimate disappointment.
He was used throughout the backline in his 23 appearances, and produced some slick footwork on the way to scoring 11 tries, but being in the halves remains his preference.
“That’s always been my goal, but there are other players who have built their way into playing the halves,” he said.
“They’ve started at centre and ended in the halves, so I’m willing to do that. I’m only 20 years old. Hopefully I’ve got a lot more in me.”
With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck arriving to lock up the fullback spot next season, and star playmaker Shaun Johnson and fellow halves option Thomas Leuluai due back from injury, Lolohea isn’t sure what role coach Andrew McFadden has earmarked for him.
“I’m pretty excited for the pre-season,” he said.
“That’s going to show where I’m going to play next year. If I put my front foot forward, `Cappy’ will have to make a decision and I want to make it hard for him.”
He admitted that being moved around different positions had been difficult, but expressed his gratitude to the likes of departing fullback Sam Tomkins.
Lolohea took over the No.1 jersey when Tomkins was injured and got plenty of advice from the England international.
“He used to come with me each week and just do video, video, video,” Lolohea said.
“For someone like that to help a young fella out meant a lot to me.”