Despite losing several key players to injury already this year, Wests Tigers hooker Joel Luani has praised the current depth of the Club, as they prepare to take on the Sydney Roosters on Friday night at Allianz Stadium for their Round 9 clash.
Luani — a replacement himself for injured skipper Robbie Farah — said that without the Club’s depth of talent and ready-made replacements, remaining consistent would have been close to an impossible task heading into this weekend's blockbuster match.
“With the way our team is at the moment,” he said, “we’re just trying to get some consistency back after that loss against the Gold Coast Titans.”
Asked whether achieving such consistency was made more difficult given the injuries that the Club are currently dealing with, Luani agreed, but refused to lay down and accept that consistency couldn’t be found with their current squad.
“It is [harder],” he said, “but that’s the depth of the our club.
“We’ve all been training together since pre-season for there’s no excuse for that [depth to lead to inconsistent form]. We all believe in each other’s abilities — whether it’s second-team or third-team players — and as a Club, we just have to deal with it and move forward.”
Luani will run out for Wests Tigers on Friday night against the Sydney Roosters for just his fifth first-grade appearance, and said that he was looking forward to testing himself both personally, and as part of the team, against the defending premiers on their home ground.
“I’ve been working really hard and enjoying the physical side of the NRL,” he said.
“We’ve got another big test on Friday [and] I can’t wait.”
“For me, I’ve just [got to work on] the physical side of things — defending in the middle, being aggressive and keeping that chat up.
"We’ve got guys like Marty [Taupau], Woodsy [Aaron Woods] and Keithy [Keith Galloway] so we’ve got our own big boys as well so just fire them up and run off the back of that.”