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NRL gun Lolohea on the wing in 2017

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/01/2017 Angelo Risso

Tuimoala Lolohea © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Tuimoala Lolohea Packed to the rafters with playmaking talent, the Warriors will use young gun Tuimoala Lolohea as a winger in the 2017 NRL campaign.

Lolohea, 21, has been used all over the paddock since his 2014 first-grade debut, from his preferred position in the halves, to fullback, to centre and wing.

But with the emergence of Ata Hingano and pending addition of star Kieran Foran, Lolohea has been told his chances will be limited in the halves in 2017.

The return of standout fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from an ACL tear has also bumped the Kiwi international down to second-choice Warriors No.1.

Thus, seeing a gap in his squad, new boss Stephen Kearney will slot Lolohea onto the wing in an attempt to make the most of his pace and sidestep.

He has been training there since the start of Warriors pre-season in October, looking to improve his finishing and ability under the high ball.

"He just said it's better for the team, in the other positions I wanted to play there are some key players in there," Lolohea said.

"I'm pretty happy with it, to stay in a position where I can learn from training and get better."

Lolohea endured a topsy-turvy 2016 NRL campaign, shining at times but all too frequently blighted by inconsistent form and simple mistakes.

He was dropped to the bench mid-season by former coach Andrew McFadden, before briefly falling out of the match-day squad as the Warriors' season fell apart.

He ultimately made 23 appearances and scored five tries as his side finished 10th.

But Lolohea felt that with fresh blood in the playing and coaching ranks, the side was primed for an improved 2017 NRL showing.

"A lot of people around the club have changed, a lot of knowledge around the club, and I feel the boys have come a lot closer, I've been able to be myself," Lolohea said.

Lolohea's move to the right flank will likely force 2016 winger Ken Maumalo to make way, with stalwart Manu Vatuvei ever-present down the left edge.

He admitted he was hesitant at first to accept the positional change but eventually came around, convinced by Kearney to buy into his new plan.

Next fortnight's Auckland Nines is likely to be the Aucklander's first chance to try out his new role.

"I've worked a lot on the fundamentals and I hope it helps me in the long run," he said.

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