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Utilities: Picking a side made of the NRL's most flexible players

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Roar Guru
1st May, 2019
41

The utility. Every club has them. The guy who will play anywhere. The bloke who will go on for an injury cover and play out of position. The guy who can slot in wherever there’s a gap.

More often than not these players aren’t the stars. They’re the hard workers that hold a club together. Think of Luke Lewis, for example. Played fullback, wing, centre, halfback, second row and lock.

I’m pretty sure he’s propped and hooked at some time too.

Inspired by that example, below is a team based on the utility players going around in the current NRL season. Each player has been selected in one of their positions that they can cover, but each player can play more than one position, giving us a super flexible side.

1. Clint Gutherson
Fullback, centre, wing, five-eighth
The man known as “King Gutho” can play anywhere in the backline. Super committed and always gives 100 per cent.

Clint Gutherson Parramatta Eels NRL Rugby League 2017

(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

2. Michael Gordon
Fullback, wing, centre
‘Flash’ is renowned as a fullback, played Origin on the wing and has been quoted as saying “I’d be happy playing anywhere… I’ve played just about every position in my career.”

3. Tyrone Peachey
Fullback, wing, centre, five-eighth, second row, hooker, lock
Peachey is your classic utility – forwards, backs, anywhere. Good enough to play a number of positions at Origin level.

4. Ben Hampton
Fullback, wing, centre, five-eighth, halfback
Recruited as a backup half, Hampton has played fullback, wing and centre as well for the Cowboys. Another that can play anywhere in the backline.

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5. Peta Hiku
Fullback, centre, wing, five-eighth
Hiku is best renowned as a centre, but played in the halves for New Zealand and can cover wing or fullback. Another wholehearted performer.

6. Tohu Harris
Second row, front row, five-eighth, halfback
Harris has been picked to play in the halves on occasion for the Storm and now the Warriors. Excellent skills for a big man.

7. John Asiata
Prop, second row, halfback
Rounding out a massive halves pairing, Asiata plays prop more often than not, but has played in the halves for the Cowboys.

8. Isaac Liu
Prop, lock, second row
The Iceman plugs any gaps in the forwards for the reigning premiers and fills one of the prop roles here

9. Brandon Smith
Hooker, lock, second row, halfback
The heir apparent to the Storm number 9 jersey is used as a running forward with Cameron Smith on the field. Plays like a much bigger man.

10. Kyle Turner
Second row, centre, prop, lock
Currently playing centre for the Rabbitohs, Turner has played in basically every position in the Bunnies pack.

11. Mitchell Aubusson
Second row, centre, five-eighth, halfback, hooker
‘Aubo’ is another of the classic utility men. He can play on either edge, in the centres, halves or even hooker.

12. Sam Burgess
Prop, lock, second row, centre
Sam is a big man and can play as a middle forward, edge forward or even centre.

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Sam Burgess

(AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

13. Victor Radley
Lock, hooker, second row
Now the Roosters first-choice hooker with Friend injured, Radley is also a hard-hitting lock forward.

Rounding out the side is a bench consisting of Origin forward Kalyn Ponga, backline utility Connor Watson, centre, second rower and lock Isaiah Yeo, and prop, lock and second rower Shaun Lane.

What do you make of the side? Who else could make this team?