John Skandalis is confident Ava Seumanufagai can handle the pressure of first grade should he make his NRL debut at Leichhardt Oval tonight.



Seumanufagai has been named on the interchange bench in Mick Potters 19-man squad for the home clash against Parramatta.


Talented young forward Sauaso Sue has also been named in the extended squad. Potter will finalise his team an hour before kick-off.


Skandalis, the Wests Tigers NRL High Performance Manager and former premiership winning prop, says both boys would not let anyone down should they both get their opportunity.


This is a just reward for both players for the amount of hard work they have put in over the off season. This is an opportunity for them to show they want to stay in first grade, Skandalis said.


I cant fault their efforts in the gym or on the field. They do the little one per centres. Any young kid coming through who wants a tip on what it takes to make first grade should watch Ava and Sauaso.


Avas goal for the year was to lose a little bit of weight. I think he was tipping 117kg and we gave him a goal of getting to 110-112 kg mark. He did that.


Sauaso has the best skin fold on any athlete Ive seen. His challenge was to actually put on a bit of muscle on, put a bit of fat on, to get some protection there.


Both boys ask a lot of questions and whatever advice we gave them, they did it. No questions asked.


I dont they will be overawed against the big Parramatta pack. Any player who makes his NRL debut runs off adrenalin and it keeps you going.


You want to make your mark and an opportunity to cement a spot. Just like Jack Buchanan has done.


I think they will be fine and hopefully they will add some spark to the team and help us win.


It will be the first time Parramatta has played in a premiership match at Leichhardt Oval since 2004. The last time the Eels played there saw Wests Tigers win 33-6.