Dylan Walker finds himself in unfamiliar territory in the No.6 jersey but Manly's big off-season recruit insists he is not just a stop-gap solution.
The 21-year-old admitted there was unwarranted pressure on him to deliver from the start at his new club, but said it was always going to take time for him to settle into the new role in new surroundings.
While it was slow start to the year for the former South Sydney centre, Walker believes he's found some rhythm after five weeks steering the team around the paddock.
"For me, I think people just expected too much too soon," Walker said. "We always knew there would be a work in progress. Everyone just put a lot of pressure where they thought I had to do a lot of things at the start. I'm finding my feet now and just enjoying it.
New role: Dylan Walker prefers seeing more of the ball in the five-eighth position.
New role: Dylan Walker prefers seeing more of the ball in the five-eighth position. Photo: Cameron Spencer
"I think I'll be a five-eighth for a long time. That's the way I'm looking at it. I'm not looking to be a short-term solution. I'm really enjoying getting my hands on the ball a lot more and I want to make the position my own."
While Walker earned Test honours for Australia on the back of his efforts in the centres for South Sydney, he admits he has always held a desire to play in the halves.
The opportunity to do so at Manly was a huge factor in his decision to move to the northern beaches.
"When I first came into first grade, that same year I was playing six [five-eighth] in the under 20s and reserve grade," Walker said.
"It was something new to me in grade but I always found myself as a six growing up. It's something I'm really enjoying at the moment. It was a massive factor in coming here. Baz [coach Trent Barrett] has been awesome since I got here and he's a really good coach who knows what he's doing. It's been awesome.
"It was a bit hard at Souths. There were a couple of other guys there who played in the halves, like Luke Keary, and Cody Walker was also there, and Adam Reynolds. Madge [Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire] wanted me in the centres and I was happy to be there. I enjoyed my time there. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about coming here to play five-eighth."
At a club renowned for producing international halves, Walker has no shortage of advice on how to ensure he continues the club's trend, with Daly Cherry-Evans, Barrett and club legend Bob Fulton in his corner.
The last big-name half to leave the club was Kieran Foran, and while Walker recognises the impact his predecessor had on the club, he doesn't feel the burden of filling his shoes.
"I met Foz last year in the All Stars and he's an absolute champion and I got along with him well," Walker said.
"I don't put that pressure on myself. I just have to worry about what I do before anything else and the score will take care of itself. I always looked at myself as a different player. I didn't want to compare myself to anyone else. Everyone has a different style of play and Kieran has been a great five-eighth for quite a few years.
"I also have Baz, who is a mentor for myself and was a champion five-eighth. He's taught me a lot about the game and I'm just soaking it all in."