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Wests Tigers injuries force Maguire to juggle round one selections

Even before a ball has been kicked in anger injuries have ravaged Wests Tigers ahead of their season opener against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles this Saturday at Leichhardt Oval.

With captain and fullback Moses Mbye, winger David Nofoaluma and second rower Chris Lawrence unavailable for selection, new mentor Michael Maguire has named a side containing a few surprises.

There’s no Josh Reynolds, although he’s in the 21-man squad, nor young hooker Jacob Liddle, who is in jumper number 20.

It’s not clear who will replace Robbie Farah at dummy half if he requires a rest, but the obvious one, used by Ivan Cleary last year, was Elijah Taylor, who has been named at lock.

On the plus side, new recruits Paul Momirovski (pictured), Robert Jennings and Ryan Matterson will be making their NRL debuts for the Wests Tigers.

Young prop Thomas Mikaele will make his first grade debut after being named as part of a four-forward interchange bench that includes Russell Packer, Josh Aloiai and Michael Chee Kam.

Corey Thompson has been named at fullback in Mbye’s absence with Mahe Fonua on the wing, while Benji Marshall will start in the halves as captain alongside Luke Brooks.

Alex Twal and Luke Garner also earn starting spots after impressing throughout the pre-season – joining Ben Matulino and Taylor in the run-on forward pack.

Matt Eisenhuth and Chris McQueen join Jacob Liddle and Josh Reynolds in the four reserves named by Maguire.

Kickoff for the match is at 5:30pm as Wests Tigers look to secure their fifth consecutive round 1 victory and fourth straight win over the Sea Eagles.

Wests Tigers NRL team:

1. Corey Thompson

2. Mahe Fonua

3. Paul Momirovski

4. Esan Marsters

5. Robert Jennings

6. Benji Marshall (capt.)

7. Luke Brooks

8. Ben Matulino

9. Robbie Farah

10. Alex Twal

11. Ryan Matterson

12. Luke Garner

13. Elijah Taylor

Interchange:

14. Russell Packer

15. Thomas Mikaele

16. Josh Aloiai

17. Michael Chee Kam

Reserves:

18. Josh Reynolds

19. Matt Eisenhuth

20. Jacob Liddle

21. Chris McQueen

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