Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire concedes he is yet to settle on the make-up of his spine and hopes the club’s final trial game against the Warriors in Whangarei on March 2 will help clarify his decision.
Maguire named Moses Mbye the new Tigers captain last week with the 24-year-old set to resume his role at fullback in round one, while Robbie Farah is likely to get the nod over Jacob Liddle at hooker.
The five-eighth role looms as Maguire’s biggest selection headache with the race down to two between Josh Reynolds and Benji Marshall.
According to NRL.com Stats, not much splits the pair with only clear differences in the offload and try-scoring department.
Reynolds came from the Bulldogs with a unique style of attacking flair but injuries have unsettled him, while Marshall is towards the end of his NRL career.
Another decision will need to be made around the final make-up of the bench, with the utility position up for grabs.
“I’m looking forward to the day when I have to obviously sit down and make that choice because I know the boys are buying into what we’re trying to do,” Maguire said.
"That’s the key for what the boys have shown; whatever the choice will be, it’s all about the team itself and they speak about that.
Mbye has the eye of the tiger on top 4
"And they’re going to help me make the decisions around that one. The expectations about how we’re going to play and what’s expected of our spine, that will make it part of the choice.
“Obviously [I’ll] talk to them along the way, they’re very open and we’ve had some really good discussions as a spine around that as well.”
Maguire has settled into life at Concord after returning to pre-season a fortnight late in November following his international commitments with the Kiwis Test side.
“Yeah, it’s a real family feel,” Maguire said.
"You’ve obviously put a lot of work in the background to be able to get the club to where it is now and the foundations are very strong.
“And you can see that when a player walks in. The club allows players to do their job now, they can focus on their footy. They don’t have to be too concerned about what’s going on around them rather than just playing and turning up to training and being at their best.”
Wests Tigers will open the season with three consecutive home games in 2019,