St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor is set to continue his left-field experiment with a rotating right edge rarely seen in the NRL.
In an attempt to make the most of his stacked backline, McGregor used star Josh Dugan at centre in attack and on the wing in defence during last week’s season-opener against Melbourne.
Flank partner Euan Aitken alternated with him and, together with an underdone Tyson Frizell, the bizarre combination produced mixed results. One lowlight was Melbourne winger Marika Koroibete burning Dugan in defence for a try, courtesy of a long ball from Billy Slater.
“We had a situation where there was a first time in an NRL game, where Euan and Josh swapped around a little bit there on the edge,” McGregor explained.
“Josh is an outstanding catcher in the air, so they were swapping over. They lost their roles a little bit at times, but it’s a process.
“It’s only early. The continuity will come in time. The guys are working really hard this week to rectify a couple of them little things.”
A solid club debut from Storm recruit Kurt Mann means McGregor is likely to stick with his revolving right flank for Sunday’s local derby against Cronulla.
McGregor was impressed with Mann’s near-flawless effort against his old club, communicating well in defence, showing courage under the high ball and laying on a try in attack.
“So if you look at Kurt’s game, I thought overall it was very good. He just needs to continually improve on little things in the game that’s more off the ball than on the ball,” he said.
Second-rower Joel Thompson, not named in Tuesday’s line-up, continues to be a day-to-day prospect as he recovers from a glute injury.
“Joel’s an outside hope of playing, but he was last week as well. He trained with us right up until the day before the game against Melbourne and he fell short, and he’s still at that stage now,” McGregor said.
“I’ll know more (on Saturday). They’ve just had a look at him upstairs now. It’s flared a little bit from yesterday. But if he’s right to go, he’ll be playing.”