Clint Gutherson moves to five-eighth this week, and for a player who has been shuffled around in various positions throughout his career, I'm willing to bet that's the last move positional move he's going to make.
Parramatta has already signalled Gutherson as one of the players, it's future is going to be built around, by giving him a captaincy role.
My mis-giving with that was I have always hated, and still hate, a fullback as a captain. They are always out of the line, and can't do the on-going communication with the referee that you really want from your leader. They're not in the line, and so they're not going through what every other player in the team is experiencing. I said the same thing about Jarryd Hayne when he had the co-captaincy.
If Gutherson is to be our captain and leader, in my view, he needs to play in the front line, and I think for the good of the team, five-eighth is the position he'll eventually make his own.
Which is not to say, I think he's going to kill it, week-in, week-out.
He'll have his struggles there, as teams work out what he's got in his game, and what he doesn't. However, we've seen enough of Gutherson from the time he had there, and through his fullback game to know that he has a skill-set that is good enough for the position, and I think all Eels fans would believe that he has the mentality to succeed at the position and the willingness to learn, to make it his long-term position.
If we have identified Gutho, as our Cameron Smith-style leader, I think you've just got to go all-in.
This year is obviously at the point where we can take risks, and if the rest of the season, serves to prepare Gutherson for a full-time role there, so he goes into next year with some solid experience under his belt, then it will certainly be a silver lining to whatever happens over the rest of 2018.
That said, we do have to have a little bit of patience, and he'll still be learning the trade next year, so it's important that we finally get the combinations right, and this is where I think we do have the nucleus of a very good spine.
I think for Mitchell Moses to play his best football he has to beat a dominant half. The best games I've seen him play is when he's been dominant, and I think he's got to have the license to use his vision and instinct. When you play with split halves, it necessitates a pretty structured game and I think Moses is best when he's got a bit of freedom. In that sense Gutherson and Moses complement each other. Moses needs to run the show, but you have to accept he'll try some things that don't work. Gutherson will play a lesser-role - he'll be the guy who is tasked with turning an overlap into a try and he does that very well, but he's also far steadier and is likely to be a calming influence on Moses.
However, it also shifts our strengths a little bit. Gutherson's greatest strength as a fullback is his push/support play. We'll get that from him, playing at six as well, so it gives us a bit more license to have a more creative fullback, and that's where Bevan French comes in. French is also a player, who needs to have license to try things, and between Moses and French, the spine has another creativity not to get shackled.
Is Gutherson a better fullback than five-eighth. Undoubtedly, that's the case right now. But roster management is often about putting players in positions that are best for the club (and in this case I believe the long-term future of the player as well).