Ellis a chance for Cowboys clash
By David Beniuk AAP Sun, 18 Jul 2010 14:19:42
English star Gareth Ellis is a chance of making an early return from a groin injury for the Wests Tigers’ NRL clash with North Queensland on Monday night.
Ellis suffered the injury two weeks ago against Brisbane and missed last Friday’s one-point victory over Gold Coast.
He was slated for a round 20 return but could line up against the Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval after returning to training with the Tigers on Thursday.
“He’s a chance to play,” Tigers assistant Peter Gentle told reporters on Sunday.
"Someone with his ability you want to monitor, you don’t want to bring him back too early.
"If he plays, he will be a hundred per cent.
"We’re not in a position where we’re going to run him out at 90 per cent or 95 per cent. We’re not at that desperate stage yet.
“Hopefully he’ll be right.”
The Tigers were running a squad of 20 at their final training session, including serial retiree John Skandalis and halfback Robert Lui, who is being nursed back from a knee injury.
Skandalis is almost certain to make his latest NRL comeback from the bench, while a decision will be made on Lui on Monday with his knee still blowing up after each session.
Another fiery clash between the 2005 grand final combatants is on the cards, although public enemy No.1 in Leichhardt, Cowboys’ benchman Anthony Watts, will be missing through suspension.
Watts and Tigers skipper Robbie Farah waged a battle throughout last year’s clash, also at Leichhardt.
“No Anthony Watts is good for us,” Farah said.
“He’s been playing good footy for them off the bench and providing them with a lot of spark out of dummy-half so they’re going to miss him off the bench and miss his impact.”
But Farah said there will still be plenty of feeling between the sides, who last met in Townsville in round five, a 23-16 victory to a Tigers side which lost Tim Moltzen to a season-ending knee injury.
“When you get two teams that have played in a grand final I guess it creates a bit of history and there’s always a bit of emotion involved,” Farah said.
The disappointing Cowboys have managed just four wins in 2010 and sit only above points-less Melbourne in 15th place on the ladder.
“If you start looking at the ladder and looking at teams behind you and thinking they’re sitting 15th so we’re going to beat them, I think that’s a load of crap,” Farah said.
"It’s a mystery to me why their performances this year haven’t been as good as they should be.
“They’re kind of the team you expect to click into gear at any stage.”
Sheens taking no chances with Lui and Ellis for Cowboys round-up
July 19, 2010
WESTS TIGERS coach Tim Sheens is set to ignore the claims of returning halfback Robert Lui against North Queensland tonight - persisting with the halves combination of Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence, which has given the team consecutive victories.
However, Sheens is likely to call on John Skandalis, bringing the forward out of NRL retirement for the second time in two seasons.
Lui has been keen to return from a knee injury and, while the half appears physically ready to return, it’s believed Sheens would prefer to give the youngster another week to fully recover, given Marshall and Lawrence have performed well in the Tigers’ past two matches. Lui may play in the Toyota Cup.
The significance of Skandalis’s return is highlighted by the fact he is the Toyota Cup conditioner.
Sheens brought Skandalis out of retirement to give his squad some experience midway through last season, after which he retired to take charge of the youth squad’s conditioning. But Sheens had a contract registered in recent weeks after Skandalis put together some impressive performances for the Western Suburbs NSW Cup squad. While the 34-year-old played on after his comeback last year, the coach expects him to be producing more of a cameo this time. ‘‘It will only be a short-term thing,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘I don’t see him replacing youngsters. I just wanted a bit more experience.’’
Sheens said fitness would not be a problem for Skandalis, even though he has not played an NRL match all year. ‘‘He’s probably fitter than he’s ever been,’’ Sheens said. ''He’s the conditioner for the 20s and he’s been training since the pre-season.
‘‘I honestly don’t think I’ve seen John fitter. I’m not saying that he’s going to play. We’ve registered a deal with the NRL. If we use him, we use him, if we don’t, we don’t. But his experience is certainly handy around the young blokes. Whether he gets on or gets much time, I haven’t determined.’’
Skandalis may not be called upon if English second-rower Gareth Ellis returns from a groin injury. But Ellis remains an unlikely prospect.
‘‘With someone of his ability, you don’t want to bring him back too early. You want to make sure he is 100 per cent, which is what we are doing,’’ Tigers assistant coach Peter Gentle said. ‘‘If he does play, he will be 100 per cent.’’
With Lui likely to miss out, Lawrence again shifts to five-eighth, with Marshall at halfback. Geoff Daniela will move into the centres, with Mitch Brown promoted from the interchange to starting centre.
Despite the awful form of the Cowboys, Tigers skipper Robbie Farah said his side was not underestimating them.
‘‘If you start looking at the ladder and looking at teams behind you and you are thinking they are sitting in 15th position so we are going to beat them, I think that is a load of crap,’’ Farah said. ''You have to prepare for every game like it is going to be another hard game in the NRL because it is. If you don’t prepare that way and come out and play that way, you are going to get your pants pulled down.
‘‘We have worked real hard this week on our training to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Cowboys have eight or nine representative players. It is a mystery to me why their performances this year haven’t been as well as they should be. They are the kind of team who you expect to click into gear at any stage and we are hoping tomorrow night that they wait one more week before they do that.’’
SMH today, say its unlikely that Ellis or Lui will play tonight. To me thats a worry, we might be able to get by without Ellis but to play another week without a no7 and expect to win is a concern. The cowboys are going to click one week, too many good players just hope its not this week because without a no7 in the team we dont have much fire power to pile on the points. I have a bed feeling about tonight
For years sheens’ has been dreaming about manufacturing a 7 out of a 6 in Benji & 6 out of a 3 in Lawrence and now he gets his chance to persist with it. If Lui needs the extra week then that’s the way it is but ‘Lui may play in the Toyota Cup’???
I can just see the argument next game, ‘welllll it’s a big game against Manly at Brooky and Lawrence has been playing well at 6 so I don;t want to upset the balance by bringing the young guy Lui back. He’s a player of the future but Lawrence is doing the job now.’
The cows will score points tonight the question has to be asked with Benji at 7 and Rowdy at 6 will we be able to out score them and I dont think so. On the Lui thing Iam sure theirs more to this than a crook knee, not sure if its a discipline thing or maybe just being shielded from a few matches so he dosnt burn out
If Lui plays for the 20’s instead of the NRL side, Sheens is a moron. Our attack has been woeful in recent weeks it is only good defence and the fact the Gold Coast dropped some crucial ball that we are on a winning streak.
Lui is our best option for 7 for the rest of the year, time to put him there and hopefully our attack will click again. If he is being rested for missing a sponsors function it is even more of a joke.
Sheens and Royce have to go at the end of this year, it will be about 2 years too late!!!