By Ian McCullough
March 09, 2010
Manly coach Des Hasler is planning to exploit Lote Tuqiri’s lack of match practice when the Sea Eagles take on Wests Tigers in the opening round of the NRL season.
Tuqiri has been named on the Tigers wing for the first Monday Night Football game of the season at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The former Brisbane Broncos star returns to rugby league set to make his 100th career NRL start following an eight-year spell playing rugby union with New South Wales Waratahs, Australia and, more recently, Guinness Premiership club Leicester Tigers.
Hasler expects the dual international to be a huge success for the Tigers, but he believes the winger may initially struggle to readjust to the 13-man game.
“He will probably find the pace and intensity of the game hard,” Hasler said.
"Playing on the wing, they’re not doing the hit-ups and the runs but it’s still a fairly active game and a lot of work for wingers just getting back, chasing, the whole lot.
“He will find it a little bit foreign.”
Hasler joked that Tuqiri could struggle to remember the rules, having been out of the game for so long.
“The plan on Lote will be to kick, trap him inside his 20 and he’ll kick straight out on the full over the sideline,” Hasler said.
“It’s not as if he hasn’t played football before. He’s an outstanding athlete and he’s got a lot of experience so we will see how he comes up.”
Hasler named young New Zealand playmaker Kieran Foran at halfback following Matt Orford’s departure to Super League.
Foran will line up alongside new skipper Jamie Lyon, who will start the season at five-eighth.