Stanley central to Dragons' backline puzzle dilemma

RUGBY LEAGUE

Kyle Stanley has been like the piece of the jigsaw puzzle that just doesn't seem to fit this season, but he has no qualms about being asked to play centre if coach Steve Price desires.

Used in a utility role and primarily as Mitch Rein's understudy at hooker in the first five rounds, Price left Stanley out altogether when fielding a beefed-up bench against Melbourne.

Stanley's gradual re-introduction to the NRL off the bench has been carefully planned as he returns from a fourth knee reconstruction.

The 23-year-old has seen just 90 minutes of action in five appearances.

But with Dylan Farrell facing an extended stint on the sidelines with a pectoral injury, Stanley may be able to bed down a permanent top-grade centre spot.

"I wouldn't go out of my way to play centre, but if that's where he [Price] wants to put me that's where he wants to put me.

Price certainly isn't devoid of options to partner Jason Nightingale on the right edge.

Joel Thompson could easily shift into the centres to accommodate the return from suspension of Jack de Belin or even the injured Tyson Frizell, while Peter Mata'utia and Charly Runciman have bided their time in the NSW Cup.

Frizell has been battling a foot complaint for the past fortnight, but indicated he was an outside chance to return for the Red V against the Warriors at WIN Jubilee Oval on Saturday.

Frizell suffered the injury early in the Dragons' first loss of the season against the Broncos, which triggered a three-game slide for the early competition leaders.

The ex-Shark was a catalyst for St George Illawarra's lightning-fast start start to the season, but admitted the shift into the unfamiliar front row was a daunting one at first.

The Dragons won't encounter many bigger packs than the Warriors, who they tamed in a come-from-behind 31-12 win at Eden Park in round two.

Stanley stressed the importance of picking up a confidence-boosting win before the Anzac Day blockbuster against the Roosters.

"Obviously they're a huge pack and every Warriors side seems to have a huge pack," he said. "We've got to take that into consideration and we've just got to play to the best of our ability and hopefully come away with the points.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop