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ATTACKING weapon Feleti Mateo has declared the Warriors are ready to shed their conservative approach and go for flair as they look to end their horror start to 2011.
The ball-playing back-rower's switch to five-eighth is the centrepiece of the massive Warriors rejig for tomorrow's match against the Sharks in Taupo.
Mateo began his NRL career with the Eels in the playmaking role and it is his favoured position. Coach Ivan Cleary always intended to try his marquee recruit in the No. 6 shirt and, with the Warriors hardly firing a shot so far this season, Mateo's chance has already arrived .
"I said all along with Feleti it is an option," Cleary said. "He is keen for the challenge and I think it is time we gave him that opportunity."
One of the better performers in last week's defeat by the Dragons, Mateo will shoulder much of the responsibility for igniting an attack that has been cannon fodder for opposing defences this season.
Mateo's 108kg frame and offloading ability should certainly present some challenges for the Sharks defence, with the Tongan captain hinting he would dip into his bag of tricks.
"With the attacking weapons we have in the team maybe we are being a bit conservative, just worrying about completing sets, and that's taken away a bit of our attacking flair," Mateo said. "We've addressed that. There are a few things we need to tweak and once we get that sorted I think there will be a lot more points on the board."
With hitmen Paul Gallen and Jeremy Smith lining up in the Sharks' back row, Mateo was happy with the timing of his positional switch.
"It's probably a good thing I'm out of the forwards this week," he said. "They are probably the hottest team in the comp right now so it'll be a good test for us.
"If we can roll them then we can put our season on track."
Cleary wasn't expecting Mateo to change his game.
"I just want him to play how he plays," the coach said.
Cleary's description of Mateo's kicking game as "not a classical one" produced a few titters from the media, but the coach insisted he would be up to the job.
"I'm not trying to be funny," Cleary said. "He reads the game well and has a good eye for opportunities, so he can play a part in the way our sets end."