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The heavy injury toll at Wests Tigers has not just been confined to the NRL side.

Wests Tigers NYC Coach Todd Payten has 10 players unavailable through injury heading into Friday nights home match against the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval. Winger David Nofoaluma and half-back Luke Brooks have been promoted to the NRL and NSW Cup respectively.

Payten said the injury toll had tested the squad and presented some fringe players with their opportunities. The defending premiers sit in seventh place on the ladder with five wins to their name.


Our depth of squad is being tested but this is a real strength of ours this year, Payten stated.

If we were fully fit there would be some quality boys that would miss out. It is exciting for me as a coach to see some of our young guys that have worked just as hard as the more experienced players to get their opportunity. It is a real reward for their hard work and perseverance.

Rhys Mclaren is one of those players. He travels from Moss Vale to Concord for every training session. Rhys is an apprentice electrician by trade who juggles both his work and football commitments very well. He has shown a first class attitude all year. A lot of our guys could take a few things from him and his maturity.

Nofoa Leapai gets another chance to hold down our interchange hooker position after being left out of the side with some defensive and fitness concerns to address after round 6.

Paul Simona also came in last week to replace Nofoaluma. Paul is an Australian schoolboy who started the year with us on the wing but was out played by Delouise Hoeter on Nofoalumas return from injury.

Payten said two new faces had been added to the NYC squad in Richard

Ene and Rhys Armstrong.

Richard is a huge kid who came down through the Keebra Park system. He started the pre-season well but sustained a knee problem which didnt allow him to do much running, Payten added.

He has had some weight issues but has worked hard over the last few weeks and is ready for a run should he be given the opportunity.

Rhys is another graduate from the Balmain SG Ball team. He played five-eighth for them and in the past has played all positions except fullback and hooker. Rhys is fit, string and skilful. He gives me some flexibility across the park should we go down in any position.