Injuries to Moses Mbye and Robbie Farah have forced Wests Tigers head coach Michael Maguire to turn to youth to save the club’s season.
Maguire has named 19-year-old rookie Tommy Talau to make his debut in the centres, while Jacob Liddle returns to the side at hooker for the Round 22 clash against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles this Thursday at Brookvale.
After the heart breaking two point loss to the Bulldogs, it’s now do or die time for Wests Tigers, who are staring at yet another season without finals footy.
It’s almost certain they will need to win all of their remaining four matches to snatch a top eight finish for the first time since 2011 – apparently the biggest finals drought of all time.
Wests Tigers are on 20 competition points, and while 26 may be sufficient, 28 would be a safer bet.
Farah’s and Moses’ injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time for Maguire, but hopefully Talau and Liddle – pictured below – will see their selection as a big opportunity to put their hands up for regular selection to first grade.
The son of former Bulldogs centre Willie Talau, Tommy Talau
will become the 225th player to represent Wests Tigers and the third player to
debut under Maguire in 2019.
After recently inking a new deal with the club until the end of 2021, Liddle’s inclusion at hooker is a seamless transition for Wests Tigers with the young rake featuring for the side on nine occasions already this season.
Elijah Taylor has been included on the bench as possible
cover for Liddle, with Josh Reynolds, who is also capable of playing the
position, named in the reserves.
Luke Garner has been named in the back row pending his judiciary appearance tonight.
Garner will front the Judiciary seeking to have a grade one dangerous contact – other charge overturned, with the forward free to play if successful.
If unsuccessful, he will be suspended for one week with Chris Lawrence, Chris McQueen and Sam McIntyre all options in the 21-man squad to replace him.
Wests Tigers v Manly:
1. Corey Thompson
2. Paul Momirovski
3. Tommy Talau
4. Esan Marsters
5. David Nofoaluma
6. Benji Marshall (captain)
7. Luke Brooks
8. Thomas Mikaele
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Oliver Clark
11. Luke Garner
12. Michael Chee Kam
13. Ryan Matterson
14. Matt Eisenhuth
15. Elijah Taylor
16. Alex Twal
17. Chris Lawrence
18. Josh Reynolds
19. Robert Jennings
20. Chris McQueen
21. Sam McIntyre