Coote's positional switch

HE fought try and bomb to keep the No.1 jersey but Lachlan Coote's days at fullback may finally be over.

And not because of injury. Nor a flash of brilliance by another player.

Rather, Coote is being tried and tested at five-eighth by coach Ivan Cleary in a shake-up that's shifted the 22-year-old into a position he hasn't played at since he was 16 years of age.

Coote started at five-eighth in the Panthers' victory last Sunday and has again been named in the position for this weekend's clash against the Sharks.

"Ivan and I were talking about it a little bit and he was going to ease me into it — I was going to start at fullback (last weekend) but he said I'll throw you in and see how you go," Coote said.

"I found it pretty good, it was a bit different, I woke up the day after the game and my legs were fresh but my upper body was sore so it was a different feeling to what I'm used to.

"But I found it to be a good challenge and thought it went well."

Reports emerged yesterday claiming Panthers' regular five-eighth Travis Burns, who is currently fighting a lengthy suspension from the NRL judiciary, had been told by club officials to look elsewhere in 2013 while up-and-coming halves Blake Austin and Harry Siejka are out injured for the season.

As a result, Coote is faced with the possibility of playing five-eighth for the remainder of 2012 and if he impresses, he's happy to continue in the No.6 jumper next season.

"I'd be open for whatever," Coote said.

"It's going to be tough over these last six weeks, obviously teams are going to target me a bit more, but I'm up for the challenge. It doesn't matter where I'm playing, I just love playing footy and having the ball in my hand.

"I don't really have a favourite position, obviously I like fullback and that's my main but it's good to have a freshen up."

Ahead of the Panthers' match against the Sharks at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night, Coote said the side must contain returning skipper Paul Gallen, shut down five-eighth Todd Carney and be wary of their opposition's second phase play.

"The Sharks have lost their last couple of games so they'll want to come out firing," Coote said. "It's going to be a tough, physical game but I'm pretty confident, coming off the back of last weekend, that we can take the same mentality into this weekend's game and get the two points."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop