Soward has freedom to roam

RUGBY LEAGUE

Penrith five-eighth Jamie Soward believes a licence from coach Ivan Cleary to roam both sides of the field will see him recapture the form that led the Dragons to premiership glory in 2010.

The former St George Illawarra playmaker has struggled since being assigned to the left side of the field by Dragons coach Steve Price in 2012.

However, Cleary has given Soward the freedom to attack both sides of the ruck, a decision Soward believes will have a huge impact on his game.

"I think Ivan is keen to not just pigeonhole me there on one side which for the last couple of years I've been held to one side," Soward said.

"[Peter] Wallace is pretty receptive of that. It's about getting that combination right and just playing footy. I think with Wal leading the team around you are going to see a freer and more confident Jamie Soward than you have seen the last couple of years.

"I think Wayne [Bennett] was more 'get out there and play footy'. For me it is trying to get back to that this year."

Soward will line up against the Dragons for the first time tomorrow at the Auckland Nines.

He insists he is treating the match-up against his former club as just another game, but admitted it would be a different feeling in the season proper.

"It's just going to be another game for me," Soward said.

"The Nines is going to be something different to when we play them at Kogarah or out at Penrith Stadium. It's not really an issue."

"I've said hello and kept in contact with a few of the younger guys I'm closer with. [Cameron] King is up in North Queensland now and I probably talk to him the most. I handed [my wedding] invites before I left and a lot of them were still keen to make it, so that was good. I had a great time there but it's business for me now I'm all in with the Panthers. I'm enjoying my time there."

Most clubs are still unsure on what style of football or game plan will best suit the Nines concept.

However Soward believes Penrith will benefit from watching all the other teams before they take the field.

"We're the last game on the first day, so for us it's a chance to watch a couple of games and see if we can change our tactics," he said.

"It's been a good week in camp. We've talked about a few things and had a bit of training with nine a side on the field. You have to stick to the same ideas you would in the 13-man game. It's just a matter of altering a few things."

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