Oates: desire to switch positions not selfish
Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates has refuted suggestions his public declaration of a desire to play in the back row is driven by selfish motives.
The off-contract 23-year-old told NRL.com in the pre-season that this was the year where he wanted to transition to the back row and prove he was a multi-dimensional player and more than a winger.
He said at the time that whether he got that opportunity would be a key in deciding where he played in 2019 and beyond.
Oates, who was given the opportunity to trial in the back row, is yet to get his positional switch wish granted in the NRL so far this season, but said on Monday he would still put the team first and play where coach Wayne Bennett put him.
Oates said his request to play in the back-row was driven by a desire to test and challenge himself and had no regrets.
"A few people have asked me if it was a bit selfish, but I don't think it is," Oates told NRL.com.
"It has got my self-confidence back and proven that I can just be more than a winger.
"I had sort of been, not going through the motions, but just trying to do the best I can without going overboard or trying to do that little special thing.
"This year I have been trying to back myself, be confident with my decisions and not second guess myself.
"I'm trying to have fun like I used to while doing that bit more for the team, and offer more."
Oates said his focus was not on his next contract at this early stage of the season.
"Honestly, it is in the back of my mind at the moment," he said,
"It is probably the fifth thing on my list.
"I want to play some really good football before I start talking to anyone about my future."
Oates played left wing in the disappointing 34-12 loss to St George Illawarra in round one of the Telstra Premiership but said he was ready for the switch whenever coach Bennett called on him.
"I'd love to still have a crack at it but I am doing what is best for the team at the moment," he said.
"I am always a team player and wherever [Wayne Bennett] wants me to play I am more than happy to, but every week I will put my hand up don't worry.
"[Bennett] just said 'be ready for it'. You never know when it could happen so I am just going to keep my hopes up and keep asking the question."
Oates has been named at left wing for the clash against the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
He said the team must improve ball control and its defence against the Cowboys.
The 23-year-old started his career in the back row, a position he played as a junior, and said he would still make the tough runs of a forward when his team was coming out of trouble.
"I think that is something I bring… and that is just doing my job for the team and getting us out of the tough yards," he said.
"I am more than happy to take those tough carries, and I can always relate back to playing in the back-row.
"You've got to run hard otherwise you get put on your arse and that is no different to playing on the wing."