No better way for KG and Woodsy to push for Origin than to play against two Origin, and Australian props. Whichever pair can get their team on the front foot will determine how much emphasis Marshall or Thurston can get on the game. Will be a cracker!
Wests Tigers props Keith Galloway and Aaron Woods out to press Origin claims
FORGET the electric showdown between Benji Marshall and Johnathan Thurston - the real ding-dong battle tomorrow afternoon at Campbelltown will feature the Wests Tigers and North Queensland big men.
Tigers props Keith Galloway and Aaron Woods will lock horns with Cowboys and Kangaroos pair James Tamou and Matt Scott.
“That will be the highlight I think,” said Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens. "It will be a good challenge for Woodsy and Keith. If they want to show (Blues coach) Ricky Stuart they’ve got some ability, they stand up to them (Tamou and Scott).
"I’ve been really happy with the way Keith and Woodsy have been playing. They’re playing long spells for big men and carrying the ball forward.“Keeping Thurston and Matt Bowen in check will be a big challenge for us, and if we can keep their forwards quiet, they don’t get to play off the back of their go-forward.”
Galloway has been in “career-best form”, said Sheens, while the younger Woods was rewarded with his blistering start to the year by being named 18th man for NSW in Origin I.
Even when veteran prop Ray Cashmere broke down with a calf injury this week, Sheens was partly relieved given the amount of quality work being produced by Galloway and bearded Woods.
While Tamou and Scott were strong for NSW and Queensland respectively in Origin I, Galloway and Woods will pour pressure on Tamou and the other Blues forwards with a standout effort.
Returning Tigers back-rower Chris Heighington, who has not been sighted since he broke his hand against the Broncos, cannot believe Galloway and Woods did not feature in the Origin opener against Queensland.
“Tamou was outstanding in that first 20 minutes of Origin, and Scott played well as well, but Keithy and Woodsy were both unlucky not to be there, so it should be a great battle up front,” Heighington said.
In-form Tigers back-rower Liam Fulton added: “They’re both making plenty of metres, they hit hard in defence and doing such a good job for us, that’s why we’re winning games. Fingers crossed they can continue their good form and they get picked for Origin.”
The Tigers go in search of their fifth straight win against the Cowboys, and will do so knowing they have a good record against North Queensland and playing at Campbelltown Stadium.
Sheens will make a decision on the availability of centre Chris Lawrence today, with Curtis Sironen - the teenage son of former Balmain great Paul Sironen - on standby to make his NRL debut.
Lawrence pulled up tight in the hamstring against the Warriors and has been restricted at training all week.
Sironen has blitzed the Toyota Cup since making a return and has great hands and a wonderful turn of foot.
The return of Heighington is sure to add some starch to the Tigers’ defence, with English import Gareth Ellis revealing he is another six weeks away from making his own return from a foot injury