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Fullback best for Lolohea: Johnson

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/04/2017 Angelo Risso

<span style="font-size:13px;">Out-of-favour Warriors young gun Tuimoala Lolohea has the pace and footwork to blossom into a top-notch fullback, according to playmaker Shaun Johnson.</span> © Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images Out-of-favour Warriors young gun Tuimoala Lolohea has the pace and footwork to blossom into a top-notch fullback, according to playmaker Shaun Johnson. Warriors linchpin Shaun Johnson has tipped teammate Tuimoala Lolohea for a long-term switch to fullback, as a horde of Australian clubs reportedly vie for the out-of-favour utility's services next season.

The 22-year-old Lolohea started the 2017 campaign on the wing but was dropped after his side's limp defeat to the Dragons in round four, and is languishing in NSW Cup.

He was left out of the first-grade squad once again for Sunday's clash with the Roosters, overlooked for reserve grade star Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

Lolohea, capped once for the Kiwis, has played in several positions for the Warriors but now finds the path to his preferred spots in the halves or at fullback blocked by Johnson, Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

He is reportedly considering a request for a contract release, with five Australian clubs - including the Wests Tigers - said to be interested.

Despite the presence of Tuivasa-Sheck in the No.1 jumper for club and country, Johnson is convinced Lolohea could blossom into a top-grade fullback - and hopes he can do so with the Warriors, rather than elsewhere.

"It's a good and bad thing, with being so versatile," Johnson said.

"The way he can chime into the line with ball play, footwork, speed - he's got a bit of work to do there but fullback could really be something he could cement.

"He knows he's got work-ons to play first grade consistently."

Lolohea, a born and raised Aucklander, has played 53 times for the Warriors and scored 17 tries since his 2014 NRL debut.

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