Josh tipped to take centre stage

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GEORGE Carmont reckons wing king Josh Charnley has all the skills necessary to become a top centre.

Young-gun Charnley may be called on to switch roles at some stage during 2012.

With only three centres in the squad in Carmont, Darrell Goulding and 21-year-old Kiwi recruit Anthony Gelling, coach Shaun Wane will be banking on Charnley to provide cover should injuries, suspensions or dips in form bite during the campaign.

Charnley will also be called on to strengthen competition for the two slots following the loss of Martin Gleeson, Joel Tomkins and Stefan Marsh – who has been allowed to join Widnes on loan – over the course of 2011.

And Carmont said: “Josh can play centre well.

“When he went to Hull KR on loan (in 2009) he played there, he’s strong and a good runner, he puts a shoulder in on defence.

“He’s still young and I’m sure he realises there are a few technical things he needs to work on, like we all have, but he’s a terrific player for us and there’s no reason why he couldn’t make the transition if he needed to.

“I started out on the wing and when I moved to centre, the experience of having played on the edge definitely helped – you get a feeling for things, you know what to expect.”

Wane will be hoping 20-year-old Charnley continues his stunning form on the right wing in which he scored 27 tries during his breakthrough season.

And with Australian Amos Roberts fit again and two young outside backs – Matt Russell and Ryan King – emerging through the ranks, Charnley’s ability to switch to centre provides the coach with an extra option.

“I can see why people are saying there isn’t as much depth there as other (positions),” continued Carmont.

“We lost Gleese during 2011 and now Joel’s gone to union. But Anthony Gelling’s come on board and we’ll see how he goes, and it’s a good opportunity for the young-boys to step up – and there’s no reason why they can’t.

“They’re putting the hard work in now and it’s all up to them, and how much they want it.

“They’ve been given places in the squad for a reason and they’ve got a good opportunity there.”