Wests Tigers playmaker Luke Brooks admits five-eighth is Adam Doueihi's best position but says he would be reluctant to move to the bench long-term to accommodate his teammate's return to the halves.
Doueihi featured at five-eighth in 2021 and was one of the Tigers' best performers until an ACL injury curtailed his season.
He will play centre on his return to the starting side against Parramatta on Saturday but has previously spoken of his desire to reclaim the five-eighth spot.
Doueihi's recovery creates a dilemma for the Tigers, who are currently favouring Brooks and off-season recruit Jackson Hastings in the halves.
Hastings is a game-managing half with an accurate boot, while Doueihi and Brooks both prefer running the football, so are likely competing for the same spot in the halves.
Brooks admitted Doueihi added most value to the Tigers at five-eighth, the position he himself has held down for most of the season.
"Personally I think his best position is five-eighth," Brooks said.
"But when he has played at centre, he's done really well there.
"He's a runner of the ball. If we can get the ball in his hands as much as possible, that's his biggest threat."
Previous Tigers head coach Michael Maguire sometimes switched Brooks to hooker mid-game to re-vamp the side's attack but Brooks said he would be reluctant to take on a utility role or start from the bench as a replacement rake.
"If I had to do it for the team, I would," he said, "but I think my best position is either halfback of five-eighth."
Brooks said he welcomed the healthy competition between himself and Doueihi.
"You obviously want to keep your spot and if there's someone there, if you're not playing your best footy then they're going to come in," he said.
"That helps you to play your best footy. It's good, healthy competition."
Brooks, Hastings and Doueihi all come off contract at the end of next year and are able to negotiate with rival clubs for 2024 from November 1.
Brooks is on the richest deal of the three, earning a reported $950,000 this year, and while he was linked with a move to Newcastle earlier in the season, he said he would make no decisions about his future until the Tigers appointed a new head coach.
"All that contract stuff is put on hold until the club gets a coach," he said.
After sacking Maguire earlier this year, the Tigers appointed Brett Kimmorley head coach for the remainder of the season but Kristian Woolf, Andrew Webster and Shane Flanagan have all been earmarked as possible successors for 2023 and beyond.
Australian Associated Press
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