As a five-eighth, Penrith's Matt Burton makes a pretty good centre.
But Burton says he has no regrets about his decision to leave the Panthers and take up his preferred playmaker position at Canterbury next year ahead of Sunday's NRL grand final.
Stuck behind NSW pivot Jarome Luai at Penrith, Burton late last year opted to sign a three-season deal from 2022 with the Bulldogs where he is guaranteed a halves start.
It's fair to say much has changed since the 21-year-old made what he admitted was the toughest call of his budding career thanks to his unexpected success at centre for the Panthers this year.
He has nailed down a backline spot, starting in the centres for 18 of his 25 games of 2021 including the last seven to help Penrith march into their second straight season decider and his first.
"At the start I wasn't too sure," Burton said of his centre switch.
"I never thought that I would ever be a centre.
"It is pretty crazy to see where I am now."
But Burton said he didn't have any second thoughts about leaving Penrith despite earning the regular start he at first believed could only be achieved at Canterbury.
Burton remained steadfast in his decision even after a tug of war erupted between the Panthers and the Bulldogs earlier this year.
After Canterbury tried to secure an early release for Burton, Panthers chief executive Brian Fletcher urged the young gun to backflip on his Dogs deal, saying it would be best for his development.
Asked if he had any regrets before linking with Canterbury, Burton said: "I still see myself as a five-eighth.
"When I made that decision it was pretty hard, but it is what it is now.
"I am looking forward to next year but at this point I just can't wait to get out there on the weekend."
Rather than feeling stifled in the centres, Burton believed learning a new position would only benefit his five-eighth game next year at the Dogs.
"I think it is good for my development to learn a different position," he said.
"I can see what they need from me as a centre and as a half what I need from a centre.
"Just to get the game time this year has helped me a lot and it will help me as a half moving forward."
Burton now hopes to end his time at Penrith with a bang by picking up a premiership ring and avenging their qualifying final loss to South Sydney.
"It's obviously going to be my last game for Penrith. It's a sad time but it is what it is," he said.
"We got there the hard way so it will be good to get another crack at South Sydney."
Australian Associated Press