THE chance to settle in one position - five-eighth - will bring out the best in Knights trouble-shooter Kurt Mann this season.
That's the opinion of the person who knows probably better than anyone the challenges Mann has faced throughout his 107-game NRL career, former Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley.
Like Gidley, Mann's ability to play in a variety of positions means he has chopped and changed on a regular basis. Last season he played hooker, fullback, five-eighth and wing, but new coach Adam O'Brien has identified him as skipper Mitchell Pearce's likely long-term halves partner.
Gidley had no doubt Mann would handle the assignment and would improve the longer he is given to specialise as a five-eighth.
"I've been through Kurt's scenario at different times, although I played the majority of my footy at fullback and five-eighth," Gidley said.
"Last season it seemed like one week he was playing hooker, next week he was on the wing, then he was in the halves, or in the centres.
"It's a real challenge. It's a great string to his bow that he's so versatile, but inevitably as a player you want to really nail down one position and perform at your absolute best. I'm sure if Kurt gets that opportunity he'll grab it with both hands."
Gidley has been well aware of Mann's ability since the latter was a rising five-eighth in Newcastle's under-20s, before he was poached in 2012 by Melbourne Storm.
They will play together for the first time when Gidley, 37, comes out of retirement to be part of Newcastle's squad for the NRL Nines tournament, to be staged in Perth this weekend.
"The things I've always admired about Kurt are his competitiveness and his toughness," Gidley said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him get a crack at one designated position."
The Knights, who play the Warriors on Friday (7.55pm) in their opening game, flew out for Perth on Wednesday.