WESTS Tigers coach Jason Taylor has been dealt a first-round selection blow with hooker Robbie Farah expected to be ruled out due to a knee injury.
Foxsports.com.au has been told Farah sustained the injury during the Tigers 30-all draw with Cronulla on Saturday, with the NSW State of Origin No.9 to consult doctors on Monday afternoon.
If Farah is ruled out, Tigers coach Taylor will most likely be forced to play rookie Mania Cherrington at hooker for the club’s round one match against New Zealand at Campbelltown on March 5.
Tigers new recruit Matt Ballin, who has switched from the Sea Eagles, is still recovering from major knee surgery and is expected to be unavailable for selection.
In a further blow to Taylor’s alternative options, utility player Dene Halatau is also suspended for round one due to a lifting tackle from last season
Taylor’s other play could be to select young gun Jacob Liddle from the club’s under 20s line-up.
If Farah is forced out, it will mean the Tigers are opening the season minus their first-string hooker and halfback, with young gun Luke Brooks also suspended for round one due to a lifting tackle from last season.
Jack Littlejohn or Josh Drinkwater are believed to be vying to wear the Tigers No.7 jumper with Brooks unavailable.
It’s a cruel blow for Farah who has enjoyed a hugely productive off-season since resolving his end-of-season standoff with coach Taylor.
Taylor has hinted he intends to play two hookers once the season begins, with Farah expected to be the Tigers starting hooker.
Halatau, Ballin, Cherrington or Liddle could then fill-in as an alternative hooker when Taylor sees fit.