<big>Henry braced for Tigers’ reshuffle</big>
By Wayne Heming AAP Fri, 09 Apr 2010 15:06:37
North Queensland coach Neil Henry is prepared for a backline reshuffle from Wests Tigers that could see Lote Tuqiri switch to fullback for Saturday’s NRL showdown at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Fitness concerns over centre Blake Ayshford (knee) has led to speculation Tim Sheens could make late changes, including switching dual international Tuqiri from wing to fullback in his fifth game since returning from rugby union.
Ayshford trained with the team on Thursday, but Geoff Daniela flew with the side to Townsville on Friday as a possible back-up.
Tuqiri has scored four tries from as many games, following his eight-year-stint in the 15-man game, even putting himself quickly back in the State of Origin picture.
“We’re not really sure what they’ll do,” said Henry when asked on Friday about the Tigers’ possible line-up.
“If Tuqiri was to go to fullback, I think he’d handle it,” said the former Queensland Origin assistant coach.
"He’s good under the high ball anyway and it would give him room to move with his carries, instead of being hemmed in on the sideline.
"It would probably make him more dangerous.
“They could use utility (Daniel) Fitzhenry in the centres to try to do a job on Willie Tonga.”
The Tigers, who denied the Cowboys a grand final victory in 2005, head to Townsville with their confidence sky-high after coming back from 22-10 down to beat Canberra 35-22 last Sunday.
However, they will be without prop Keith Galloway, who has a shoulder injury, and will be replaced by Junior Moors. And Henry believes the absence of Galloway is a big blow to the visitors.
“He (Galloway) and (Bryce) Gibbs have been in very good form up front so that’s a big loss,” said Henry.
While Henry said the Cowboys would have to be on guard against a red-hot Benji Marshall, Tim Sheens’ men will have to adopt the same defensive tactics to control a rampant Johnathan Thurston who has been in sizzling form.
“What Benji does is get across the (defensive) line and build numbers on you so you have to put a bit of pressure on him,” Henry said.
"We can’t be chasing him all over the park and we need to manage people around him so our right edge defence in particular will have to aim up again.
"He and Farah are fairly lethal, they like to play down the short side.
"There’s no doubt we need to contain him
“But JT is in good form as well and I’ve got no doubt Tim Sheens has done some homework on him as well.”
Henry said while those two players would have the most impact on the result, they were unlikely to cross paths much.
“In reality they may only cross paths a couple of times in a game,” he said.
“The media can beat up their clash but it tends to be a fizzer most times because they don’t see each other.”
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