New left centre named best Cowboy on field

Centres who can play both sides of the field have become rarities in modern rugby league, but North Queensland Toyota Cowboys outside back Justin O'Neill is bucking the trend.

With his left edge struggling in defence, Cowboys head coach Paul Green opted to move O'Neill from right centre to the left side and the results have been immediate.

In three games since O'Neill switched sides of the field, the Cowboys have conceded just one try down their left edge.

O'Neill's stout defensive effort in Round 8 saw Green name the 27-year-old centre his Tropic Petroleum Man of the Match during post-match presentations at the Cowboys Leagues Club.

"I thought he did a lot of really good work that went unnoticed and was generally in the tougher part of the field. He defended well and every time he carried the footy he was a threat and poked his nose through some of those tough carries," Green said.

While O'Neill admits he is more comfortable playing on the right side of the field, he said he is also enjoying his time on the left playing outside Johnathan Thurston and Gavin Cooper.

"Defensively I've had to work on a few things since I've moved to the left. We've had to try and shut down some pretty good players and I think we've done that okay so far," O'Neill said.

"The right probably suits me a little bit better because of the foot that I jump off and I usually carry the ball in the right arm and fend with my left.

"In saying that I am enjoying playing on the left and it does help having players like JT, Coops and Tones around me. It's made it an easy transition for me."