Wests Tigers utility Moses Mbye admits he was as surprised as anyone when asked to play five-eighth in place of Adam Doueihi as part of a selection shake-up ahead of Friday night's match against Newcastle.
Mbye will wear the No.6 jersey and Doueihi will shift to right centre as Tigers coach Michael Maguire tries to find a winning formula following last weekend's 34-28 loss to Gold Coast at Campbelltown Stadium.
Rookie playmaker Jock Madden has been named to make his NRL debut on the interchange, while hooker Jacob Liddle replaces Jake Simpkin and winger Tommy Talau returns from suspension in place of Zac Cini.
The decision to move Doueihi from five-eighth took many by surprise, including Tigers teammates, as he has been one of the side's best players this season but the move is aimed at enabling halfback Luke Brooks to take more control.
Both Brooks and Doueihi are ball-running halves and the latter's 17 runs against the Titans was the most by any Tigers players except winger David Nofoaluma (21).
Mbye, who was playing outside him at right centre, received the ball six times, including one dummy-half run.
Doueihi gets a try but it is all too late
The Queensland Origin representative also brings experience to the role as Doueihi had only played five-eighth at NRL level this season, with his previous 50 appearances for South Sydney and the Tigers at fullback, centre or the interchange.
"I think Madge just wants to agitate the team a little bit. He wants to improve a few things and we need to improve," Mbye said.
"Obviously, Doueihi was disappointed with the swap but now he has taken it with two hands and it is a good opportunity to view the game from a different point and I am sure he will get better from it.
"In my opinion Doueihi has been our best player this season, so it is certainly not a knock on him. It's more a knock on where we're at as a group.
"He is certainly going to be on the field for 80 minutes so he will have all the opportunity he normally has to get his hands on the ball, and put his boot to work."
With former Roosters and Sea Eagles playmaker Jackson Hastings joining the Tigers next season, possibly along with Wigan teammate and England centre Oliver Gildart, it is unclear whether Maguire intends for Doueihi to continue playing in the halves.
For now, Mbye hopes to secure the No.6 jersey after playing a number of positions so far this season.
"I guess Madge just wanted to change something, we are not going too good so I can add a bit of experience in the spine," Mbye said.
"I was a little bit surprised but once Madge explained where we were at, what we needed to do and where we needed to go, it made sense.
Round 10 - Stars return for Magic Round
"I am probably not as dominant a figure as Adam, but I am confident in my ability in the halves and I will be going out there to complement Luke.
"I need to give him some time and give him some space to do what he does best and that is to play the game in front of him.
"We all know what a quality player Luke is and maybe with me there he will see the game from a different point of view, he will probably be on the ball a bit more, I guess.
"We are confident it is going to work, and my role is to defend well and give Luke a bit of time, get my troops organised and win the game."
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