Young guns - Joel Luani
2013 NRL games: 2
Another product of the Wests Tigers premiership-winning Under 20s side last year, Luani has spent the majority of 2013 playing hooker and in the back row for NSW Cup.
With captain Robbie Farah and back-up hooker Masada Iosefa out injured, Luani got his first NRL cap against Parramatta a fortnight ago. The highlight for the Five Dock junior was his line-break down the right edge against the Eels.
Luani kept the starting role for Monday nights clash with the Roosters, alternating with Iosefa who made a return from injury. The crafty hooker recently signed a new deal to remain at the Club until the end of 2015 and will no doubt prove valuable in years to come as a fill-in for Farah.
- Total for his two matches: 13 runs for 132 metres, 55 tackles and one linebreak.
MICK POTTER SAYS
What Ive noticed from Joel, since coming from the Under 20s to NSW Cup this year, is that he has a natural attribute to play hooker. I know that he played a fair bit of back-row in the junior and he can play that role well but his stature is much more suited to hooker.
Hes got a good pass and good speed. I think he will be a really good back up to Robbie Farah if he is out injured or playing State of Origin.
Joel has good tackle-technique and is developing his game at hooker, such as the subtleties of showing and going the other way, recognising ruck-speed, opportunities he can take and how far he can carry the ball before he can make a pass or a play. Those things will be developed over the next few years.
He has been thrown in the deep end really and it gives him an opportunity and lets him know where he is at. I think he has had an improvement even from the first to the second game and he is feeling a bit more comfortable with the team and with himself. He still knows that he has got a lot of work to do and by no means has he made it but he is prepared to work hard. He wants to develop his game and he has got no better play to learn from than Robbie.
READ PART 1: DAVID NOFOALUMA
READ PART 2: SAUASO SUE
READ PART 3: AVA SEUMANUFAGAI
READ PART 4: JAMES TEDESCO
READ PART 5: JACK BUCHANAN
READ PART 6: CURTIS SIRONEN
CHECK OUT JOEL'S PLAYER PROFILE
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