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Smith believes Brooks’ switch to five-eighth will re-ginite playmaker’s confidence


Rugby League great Cameron Smith believes that Luke Brooks’ switch to five-eighth may be the spark that ignites not only his season but the Wests Tigers’ season as well.

The Tigers remain the only winless team to start 2022 and Brooks has faced a mountain of criticism as the chief playmaker for failing to close out games.

Smith said that by moving from halfback to five-eighth, it may ease the pressure on Brooks and allow him to play more freely against the Parramatta Eels on Easter Monday.

“It might just allow Luke Brooks to relax a little bit more,” Smith said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“There’s been a lot of pressure on him - fairly or unfairly, whichever way you want to look at it.

“He wears the number seven on his back and the players that wear the number seven tend to take a fair bit of responsibility about the side’s performance.

“It may just free the reins a little bit and I hope it does because I like Luke Brooks and I think he’s a fantastic player.

“It just looks like he’s been down on a bit of energy and a bit of confidence.”

Brooks’ performances in the first five rounds this season are reflective of a player who is down on confidence. He has failed to score a try, has a sole try assist and his kicking game has also been well below his usual standards.

With Jackson Hastings returning from suspension, Smith has instructed Brooks to choose his moments in attack and embrace Hastings’ role as chief playmaker.

“Hopefully, he puts that six jersey on and let Jackson Hastings take control a bit more and pick his times when he wants the footy,” Smith said.

“When he sees a bit of space and some opportunity, get the ball in his hands.

“I’d like to see him bring his running game back because he looks like he wants someone else to do it at the moment.

“He just doesn’t look like he has the confidence to take on the line.

“Bring his running game back and his kicking game back in order.”

The Tigers will look to break their drought when they play the Parramatta Eels on Easter Monday.

Rugby League Wests Tigers

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