Wests Tigers Head Coach Mick Potter has revealed exclusively to Members one key inclusion to the side to face the Broncos this Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Sitaleki Akauola will make a return to the NRL side after playing NSW Cup last week and is set to start the match in the place of the injured Cory Paterson.
Paterson suffered a finger injury in the last start victory over the Sharks and Club medical staff are yet to determine a return date for the back rower.
Akauola will play his seventh NRL game this Saturday against Brisbane and Coach Mick Potter said he has been happy with the Manuwera junior’s performances so far this year.
“Sitaleki has been playing really well this year,” Potter said. “He went back to NSW Cup last week and had an excellent game.”
“His energy and his ‘want’ to do more is really good and he gets another opportunity this week.
“Unfortunately for Cory (Paterson) he has sustained an injury that will keep him out for an indefinite period.
“He had a bit of a fair bit of joy on the weekend and scored a really nice try, it is disappointing for him after having such a game that was close to man of the match but that’s footy.”
Wests Tigers will face a Brisbane side minus the likes of Sam Thaiday, Justin Hodges, Matt Gillet and Cory Parker – however Potter is expecting a tough match this Saturday.
“I’m expecting nothing different to what we have seen in the past from them,” Potter said. “They probably lose a bit without Hodges on the edges but they have a big mobile pack and players that run as hard as any.”
“They aren’t too fancy but they open the space up for guys like Josh Hoffman, Ben Hunt and Ben Barba – when they have open space they are very dangerous players.”
The Club will celebrate its 15th season this Saturday night, with the Brisbane clash at Campbelltown Sports Stadium the same match that kicked off the joint venture in 2000.
Players from the inaugural side will be present at the match for a guard of honour in what is just one special highlight in a day of various celebrations.
NSW Cup and Holden Cup fixtures will feature in the lead-up, plus an on-field junior clinic and a replay of the first match on the big screen are all included in what is an action-packed day of Rugby League.
Mick Potter will name the full side to face Brisbane later this afternoon on weststigers.com.au