Narrabri player revels in pivotal role

HE might have been thrown in at the deep end but Henri Knight is looking right at home at five-eighth.

Henri Knight has taken to five-eighth pretty well. Photo: Barry Smith 170514BSI32

Henri Knight has taken to five-eighth pretty well. Photo: Barry Smith 170514BSI32

The 19-year-old was thrust into the pivot role for Narrabri this season after plying his rugby trade as a half-back.

“I’d never played 10 before,” Knight said.

“I played half-back my whole life and wing last year.”

After seeing him at training and seeing his hands and watching him on his feet, Blue Boars co-coach Hunter Harley played him at 10 in the Blue Boars’ 50th anniversary game.

His performance there drew plenty of praise with onlookers, including Sydney University director of rugby Jack Farrer, commenting that he looked a natural five-eighth.

They had always intended to move him in from the wing this season – probably to outside centre.

The dilemma was they wanted to push Brenton Cochrane back to fullback but needed someone to step into 10 and didn’t want to weaken one position to strengthen another.

Knight was understandably a bit surprised.

“At the start of the season when Hunter told me I was playing 10 I was pretty shocked,” Knight said.

“But the first game went pretty well, and every game I’ve been building on that.” 

He had his first Central North start there against Pirates in the first round and picked up the one best and fairest point.

Against Tamworth on Saturday he orchestrated the play well and showed some deft hands.

He threw some lovely balls to his backline runners, putting them into holes.

“He was putting it outside the defender,” Harley said.

Blue Boars stalwart Chris Fowler had come in during the week to do some work with Knight and the backs.

“I was told to stand a bit deeper,” Knight said.

And straighten up a bit in attack – lessons he took on board.

The transition has been made easier by having former Sydney Uni first grade half-back Matt Schwager inside.

“Matt is really good. He gives good service and he’s a good leader,” Knight said.

He said with each game he is getting more comfortable and is enjoying driving the attack.

“I’ve got a lot to learn but I like playing there,” he said.

“I can’t wait to play each game.”

The Blue Boars only hope they can keep him on Australian shores.

Last year he was away travelling and missed the second round.

He got back in time for the finals and started on the wing in the minor semi-final against Scone.

Saturday was a bit of a mixed bag from the Blue Boars.

The first half they had good front-foot ball, Knight said, and played with a real fluency and precision.

The second half their defence crumbled a bit and they made a lot more errors.

“We need to work on playing 80 minutes,” Knight said.

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