Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson insists Angus Crichton's long-term NRL future is in the back-row despite his move into the middle of the field.
After making his name as a back-rower and earning a NSW State of Origin debut last year, Crichton has been shifted to a middle forward position off the Roosters interchange over the past month.
He came to the Roosters from arch-rivals South Sydney on a widely-heralded three-year deal worth a reported $1 million.
Robinson rubbished suggestions his move should be seen as a sign of unease and said they came to a mutual decision that he needed to evolve.
He said that playing in the middle of the field would only help him develop as a back-rower and it was important for him to learn different parts of the side.
"We feel like he has played some really good roles in the last month," Robinson said.
"You need to learn different parts to your game, so you develop into a certain style of a player. And then you can pick up things by going to other positions.
"So Latrell (Mitchell) went to six, he learned things about six that he needs to learn to put back into the centres. Joseph Manu going to one, Angus going into the middle; he's going to learn some critical things that he needs to learn to be a back-rower.
"Because he is a back-rower."
For the last several weeks, the rugby league rumour mill has swirled that Crichton was unhappy.
But Robinson rubbished it as not based on any truth and a matter of people putting one and one together and getting four.
"The whole thing about being a part of a team and a club is to develop a team and you as an individual," Robinson said.
"And he's fighting really hard to fight through that and he's really enjoying the contest of that. That's what he's said."
The Roosters will be without forward Isaac Liu for Saturday's clash with Newcastle at the SCG after he failed concussion protocols.
But the match will make just the second time this season - and the first since round one - that Robinson will have all of his first-choice spine of James Tedesco, Cooper Cronk, Luke Keary and Jake Friend at his disposal.
The Knights will be buoyed by the return of star fullback Kalyn Ponga from a calf injury.
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Roosters have won 10 of 11 games this season when leading at the break but have lost all five when they have been level or behind at halftime.
* Latrell Mitchell leads the NRL in points with 157 (11 tries, 56 goals, 1 field goal). Only Maika Sivo and Ken Maumalo have more tries than him this season (both 12). He is aiming to become the first player since Mal Meninga in 1990 to lead the NRL in both tries and points.
Australian Associated Press