Australia's frightening depth when it comes to No.1s will be on full display next weekend when club fullbacks Kalyn Ponga, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Clint Gutherson all step out at the World Cup Nines.
Gutherson said he would adopt the simplest of blueprints for the inaugural tournament: "Passing to Ponga or Papenhuyzen and watching them go the length."
Coach Mal Meninga has the player regarded as the best in the world, James Tedesco, cooling his heels for the Tests later this month, while Tom Trbojevic is sidelined with a pectoral injury. Tedesco is just 26 and could easily spend the best part of the next decade wearing the Kangaroos No.1 jersey.
Such is Meninga's respect for Tedesco's rivals, he is prepared to play Trbojevic and now Gutherson out of position.
Gutherson started Friday's Prime Minister's XIII game at fullback before finishing it at right centre. He bagged three tries and was one of the few players to play 80 minutes.
"He was excellent," Meninga said. "I asked him to play No.1, but I wanted to see him in right centre as well. I thought he handled it really well. Defensively he was good, he set up a try and scored three 'meaties' [tries] himself.
"We already have some outstanding fullbacks. There's Teddy, while Tommy isn't there at the moment. We have some good, skilful outside backs as well, and Gutho is one of those guys.
"The thing with Gutho is you could play him on the wing, at five-eighth, you could probably play him in the middle if you needed off the bench."
Gutherson, regarded as one of the fittest players in the game, said he would be more than physically ready for the Nines at Bankwest Stadium, the Eels home ground, where the club and Gutherson have only tasted defeat once.
His Auckland Nines experience was mixed, with Gutherson failing to win a game one year with Manly, then watching the Eels win another edition without him.
Gutherson rated New Zealand, England and Tonga genuine hopes, along with Fiji who welcome the return of Eels cult hero Maika Sivo. Sivo's family were decked out in blue and gold and waved flags at Suva's ANZ National Stadium, despite he and other NRL stars being left out by local officials.
Gutherson had no idea prime minister Scott Morrison had run onto the field after he had crossed for his third try and made a point of getting a drink off the bare-foot leader.
Meninga was forced to make a late change on Saturday to his Nines team with South Sydney's Campbell Graham drafted into the team for the injured Curtis Scott. Scott injured his foot during his first hit-up of the PM's XIII game, but was confident he did not suffer a broken bone like he did during Magic Round in May.
Graham was also a late addition for the PM's XIII because of Blake Fereguson's leg injury and reluctance to take part in the Bati match and Nines.
Ticket sales have been sluggish for the Nines but officials are confident they will pick up later this week.
- SMH/The Age