Wests Tigers face test of mettle as Roosters take flight

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Wests Tigers face test of mettle as Roosters take flight

Post by willow » Fri 09 May, 2014 7:32 am

Wests Tigers face test of mettle as Roosters take flight

Date May 8, 2014 - 11:18PM
Michael Chammas
Rugby league reporter

The Wests Tigers are flying high in the top four but coach Mick Potter says Friday night's clash against the premiers will be his side's biggest test of the season.

The Roosters will be buoyed by the recovery of James Maloney and Michael Jennings, who missed the representative round after suffering injuries in the round-eight game against the Dragons on Anzac Day.

Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will still be stinging after missing out on selection for the New Zealand Test team, when Tigers prop Martin Taupau earned his maiden Kiwis jersey at his expense.

Potter says that will only add to the difficulty of toppling the reigning champions at Allianz Stadium.

"No doubt, yeah, I think it is [the biggest test]," Potter said. "There's a few guys in their team with points to prove in regards to international selection. I rate the players that are at the Roosters and it's going to be one hell of a game. I'm looking forward to watching it and hopefully a lot of people get there."

With Braith Anasta missing with an ankle injury, and Mitchell Moses stood down for his comments during last weekend's under-20s State of Origin, Potter has opted to partner Blake Austin with Luke Brooks in the halves.

Austin has provided plenty of impact coming off the bench at hooker in the past fortnight, and Potter says the former Panther will add some spark to the halves having trained alongside Brooks before the start of the competition.

"They've done quite a bit together in pre-season and they look very sharp," Potter said.

"I look forward to them combining. Blake Austin has been very good in state cup and has helped win them a couple of games. He's been very good coming on at hooker the last couple of games. I'm looking forward to him playing at six."

Tigers prop Aaron Woods will get another opportunity to prove himself as an Origin player as he lines up against Kiwis prop Sam Moa and New Zealand discard Waerea-Hargreaves.

"Aaron's played good the whole year and I don't expect anything less from him the way his form has been," Potter said. "I think he'll maintain that. I hope he gets selected in NSW. It's not for me to say who or how he gets picked, but I think he's doing a great job for us. He's playing long minutes and doing everything right."

The Tigers will be without Anasta, James Tedesco, Curtis Sironen, James Gavet and skipper Robbie Farah, however, there's a suggestion Farah might make a shock return against the Roosters.

Potter said the week off for the representative round was a blessing.

"It came at the right time and we could probably do with a couple more weeks off to get a few more back," he said. "We have a good team and we're up against a strong and in-form Roosters team. We're looking forward to the challenge."

Potter also said the club would appeal the $20,000 fine handed down by the NRL for breaching the concussion rules in round five, when Liam Fulton was allowed to play on after copping a head knock.

“I think our medical staff did everything possible and the right thing on the day,” he said. “I think Grant's looking at it. I think we've got a good case. I thought [Fulton] was OK, as did our medical staff. I don't think there's any question really.

“I was [shocked] that there was even an investigation into it.”

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