Kurt Mann has played centre in the NRL on more occasions than in any other position during his 137-game career.
All of his 28 games for the Melbourne Storm back in 2014-15 were in the centres while he played there on seven occasions while at St George Illawarra.
But remarkably, he has only featured as a starting centre for the Newcastle Knights once in 49 top grade games for the club - back in 2019 in a round 17 loss to the Bulldogs.
All up, he has started in the centres in 36 games, one more than at five-eighth while he has come off the bench on 30 occasions.
In a potential sign of things to come over the back half of the season following the signing of Jake Clifford from the Cowboys, the versatile Mann will double that tally on Saturday against South Sydney after coach Adam O'Brien pushed him out of the halves and into the No.3 jersey following an injury to winger Starford To'a.
In a backline reshuffle, Enari Tuala moves to the wing to cover the loss of To'a with Phoenix Crossland set to return from a quad injury to partner new signing Clifford in the halves.
In the only other change to the side that suffered an embarrassing 40-4 defeat to South Sydney, debutant Mat Croker will make way for Blues prop Daniel Saifiti provided he gets through Origin I in Townsville unscathed.
O'Brien is hoping moving Mann, who has struggled for form over the past month at five-eighth and fullback, will not only ease him of the playmaking pressure but also shore up his side's leaky right edge defence.
"Kurt's has plenty of experience there [at centre], maybe not in recent times but earlier in his career, but he is such a competitor, you can put him anywhere and you know you will get plenty of effort," O'Brien said.
"He's a committed defender and reads the game well so I'm confident he will do a good job for us there. With the injuries we've had to Mitchell [Pearce] and Phoenix [Crossland] and the fact Cliff [Clifford] has only just arrived, we haven't had the luxury of playing him there before but we do now."
O'Brien admitted the review of the side's performance against the Eels showed the big defeat was largely self-inflicted.
"Way too many unforced errors and we were way too passive in defence as well and they [the Eels] just took confidence out of what we got badly wrong," he said. "We've got to fix up the basics to give ourselves a shot this week."
Saifiti's return from Origin will see him partner twin brother Jacob in the frontrow.
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