WESTS TIGERS young gun Curtis Sironen has fallen behind in the race to replace Robert Lui in the No.7 jersey for the start of next year’s NRL season, due to his recovery after an off-season shoulder surgery.
His dad, Balmain legend Paul Sironen, conceded he would be starting next season from behind despite speculation coach Tim Sheens had pencilled him in as an option to replace Lui.
Lui has joined North Queensland and 18-year-old Sironen, a five-eighth in the club’s National Youth Competition team, has been mentioned alongside the likes of Tim Moltzen, Jacob Miller and Tom Humble as a contender for the vacant role.
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But the teenager, who has represented the Australian Schoolboys, will spend most of the off-season rehabilitating his shoulder after having an operation to fix a laberal tear.
‘‘He injured himself in round 10 and, I thought, did well to keep playing on with it,’’ Sironen snr, who represented Australia as a back-rower in the 1980s and '90s, said.
‘‘Curtis had an operation and he won’t be back until sometime in March. He is spending the off-season rehabilitating and making sure he recovers fully. So, I guess, that would put him behind the eight ball for next year.’’
There was a push for Sironen jnr, who stands 193 centimetres and weighs 93 kilograms, to make his top-grade debut this season.
His father joked to The Sun-Herald that, if made halfback, he would probably be the biggest halfback in the professional game’s history.
“Though, he certainly has a really good pass,” he said. “Curtis’s main priority at the moment is to recover from the injury and get back into it.”
Meanwhile, Sironen snr said there was a whiff of nostalgia about the star-studded 2012 Wests Tigers pack.
“You can’t compare generations but the number of internationals in the pack reminds me of Balmain [in the 1980s] when we had internationals like Steve Roach, Benny Elias, Wayne Pearce, Bruce McGuire and myself in the scrum,” he said.
"Next year’s pack looks very exciting. Robbie Farah and Keith Galloway have played for Australia, Chris Heighington and Gareth Ellis represented England together and we’ve gained Adam Blair, who has played strongly for the Kiwis.
“And, on the bench, we also have Liam Fulton, who can make 40 tackles a game and, then, there’s Aaron Woods. He’s a young bloke with enormous talent, as is another young bloke like Matt Groat.”
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