PANTHERS PIP BUNNIES | More misery for South Sydney Rabbitohs as the Penrith Panthers scraped home d...
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He's among the smallest and youngest men in the team, but Penrith halfback Jarrod Sammut is starting to take control.
Boasting a healthy dose of flair in his game and sporting bright orange boots, it's clear Sammut doesn't lack confidence.
But the promising 20-year-old says he is only now getting comfortable with the task of taking charge of his side after initially being overawed by many of his premiership-winning teammates.
"It has taken me a little bit to adapt (from fullback to halfback), especially learning the plays and this year, with not so much controlling the boys but leading them around the park," said Sammut, who at 169cm and 75kg is one of the smallest players in the NRL.
"They've been here a lot longer than I have and have more experience, so it was hard at first to sort of direct people that I've looked up to for so long.
"But the more games I play and the longer I'm here, I get more comfortable and it gets a bit easier.
"Matty (coach Matt Elliott) had a talk to me and said `look on the footy field, if you get up them they're not going to take it personally because it's you're job'.
"I've learned to give them a bit of crap every now and then ... and they still give me a little bit of a shit stir every now and then so I mean, it's all good."
Sammut's form has been encouraging for Elliott in the Panthers' mixed start to 2008, winning two from five games.
As Elliott searches for a long-term replacement for Craig Gower, Sammut has given himself the first real crack with his creativity, unpredictability and a strong kicking game.
He said the flair had always been a part of his game.
"I've always loved a chip and chase," Sammut said.
"I think with the way the game's progressing now, it's more of a position and possession game.
"But sometimes the fullback or the wingers might be pretty deep ... I think the best option might be to put it short.
"Sometimes it pays off sometimes it doesn't, but I guess you've got to take risks."
And those orange boots?
"For me, it's just back to enjoyment stages of when you're play park footy, not really caring about what you look like or anything like that, just having fun," Sammut said.
"I like to be different and stand out, not many people like to wear lairy boots or different colour boots, so I'm bringing that back into make game because that's what I enjoy and that's when I play my best footy."