Tuimavave's versatility leaves him in quandary

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2013
Carlos Tuimavave
Getty Images
COMING OF AGE: Carlos Tuimavave in action for the Warriors.

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OPINION: You have to feel for Carlos Tuimavave. Coming through the grades at the Warriors, he looked like a bloke who would be a big part of first-grade plans for a generation.

Shaun Johnson at seven, Carlos Tuimavave at six; the halves combination that would take the Warriors to regular Sunday afternoon victories at Mt Smart Stadium, premiership titles, and enduring glory.

Definitely, right? Not so. Well, not so likely. The vision for Tuimavave's future at the Warriors lies in the centres apparently - and he's not that happy about it.

First-grade coach Matt Elliott has repeatedly talked Tuimavave up in the media, going as far as describing him as the next "Laurie Daley" - a bloke who starred at centre, before moving to the number six jumper and flourishing there.

The comparison between Daley and Tuimavave is an interesting one from Elliott - but not one the talented 21-year-old really wants.

Thing is: Daley played in the centres through his whole youth career, and into first-grade in the role, before heading to the No 6 jumper.

The Warriors want Tuimavave to move from standoff, to the centres, and then, most likely, back.

Anyone close to the affable young man will tell you how frustrated Tuimavave is getting with the situation - with the change in position being forced on him down in the Auckland Vulcans as well.

Tuimavave has switched back to standoff over the last couple of weeks, but that's a move enforced by the departure of Vulcans bad boy Harry Siejka, who inked a deal with the Dragons instead.

Tuimavave is a versatile young footy player, who has the size, strength and ability to play any position in the backline - and even in the back row if necessary.

That's put Tuimavave in the situation he is in. If he was a more limited player, perhaps he would be sticking just at six.

The options at standoff next season look limited at best. Thomas Leuluai is certainly headed for the hooker's jumper, leaving the number six up for grabs between the newly signed, and untested first-grader, Chad Townsend, and Kevin Locke, who will be displaced with Sam Tomkins' arrival at fullback.

Why not just stick with Tuimavave at six? Why mess with a young bloke's head when you don't really need to? With a year left on his contract, what the Warriors miss is losing him completely, because you can be assured another NRL club will be able to find a home for him at six.

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