NRL: Warriors center Euan Aitken returns to backline after playing out of position for more than a year


Euan Aitken will return to his most popular place for the primary time since July final yr. Picture / Photosport

Euan Aitken was introduced in as senior middle after 121 video games for St George-Illawarra when he was recruited by the Warriors forward of the 2021 season.

It was a logical transfer – as a result of the membership lacked depth on this place – however not as anticipated, Aitken spent most of his time within the pack.

On Saturday, Aitken, who performed simply eight of the 31 Warriors video games at centre, will return to his most popular place for the primary time since July final yr.

First, it was moved to second place to cowl a few of the accidents that made sense within the brief time period, earlier than the change this yr grew to become everlasting.

It was a daring name by coach Nathan Brown, however it was additionally dangerous, as Adam Pompey (34 NRL video games in the beginning of this season) and Jesse Arthars (29 video games) had been essentially the most seasoned gamers among the many different choices accessible alongside rookies Rocco Berry and Viliami. . valea.

Aitken carried out effectively principally at forwards along with his hardworking method, however the alternative price of the change was vital.

The Warriors have had defensive points all season – solely the Gold Coast Titans have scored extra – and have been significantly susceptible on the sidelines, middle arguably the hardest defensive place within the sport.

When Stacey Jones took the position of interim head coach, she all the time deliberate to deliver Aitken again to the again and chosen her there for the homecoming sport towards the West Tigers on July 3.

Some late withdrawals have curtailed this plan, however Aitken’s trade will finally happen towards South Sydney on Saturday.

“I needed to place it again in there and [solidify] Jones, who defined that second rowers Jack Murchie and Bailey Sironen’s return from harm introduced a possibility.

Euan Aitken celebrates the Warriors’ victory over the Wests Tigers. Picture / Photosport

Aitken, 27, seems ahead to more room and time one level nearer to the wing.

When requested what he misses most about taking part in within the open, Aitken mentioned, “It is in all probability the one-on-one attacking alternatives you get within the centres.” mentioned. “I am a reasonably sturdy ball runner and I wish to beat my protection, so I am excited to get a number of extra probabilities.”

Though Aitken spent the entire season within the forwards, he stored his tempo. He tried to recuperate within the pre-season, however was unable to take care of his further weight: “It is exhausting to take care of when doing over 40 interceptions.”

Signing to the Redcliffe Dolphins subsequent season, Aitken is assured the Warriors are heading in the right direction regardless of two wins of their final 12 video games.

“We’re fairly effectively related as a workforce – there is a good tradition right here,” Aitken mentioned. “I really feel like we’re shifting in the appropriate path, particularly within the three weeks because the Tigers gained. We confirmed perspective of getting a powerful workforce however we won’t get it collectively over 80 minutes, not out of absence. simply attempting to make errors in fatigue or a little bit little bit of sport intelligence.”

With playoff hopes buried weeks in the past, Aitken hopes the sense of pleasure and enjoyable – “we play soccer is as a result of we take pleasure in soccer” – can maintain his self-confidence and motivation ranges excessive, together with a want to listen to the glory songs once more.

“I all the time attempt to win,” Aitken mentioned. “That is the primary achievement. I need to end the yr by taking part in good soccer and if we are able to get some wins that positively makes issues a little bit extra pleasant.”

The Warriors have had a horrible document towards the Rabbitohs currently. They’ve misplaced 12 of the final 13 matches relationship again to 2013, and their solely win got here on the opening weekend of the 2018 season in Perth.


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