Wests Tigers Head Coach Jason Taylor will get his first look at his side this Friday night when the Club takes on the Parramatta Eels in an NRL trial match.
Having played both NSW Cup and NYC trials last weekend against the Eels, Wests Tigers have named a strong 22-man squad for the match against Brad Arthur’s men, with a strong starting side expected to take the field in Alice Springs.
Four Nations representatives Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Tim Simona, Sauaso Sue and Martin Taupau have all been named in the starting side, while young guns Mitchell Moses and Curtis Sironen have also been named in the team for Friday's match.
While the match won’t carry the same significance that a regular NRL match would, Taylor said that there was marked increase in the energy and intensity of training this week as the team prepares for their first hit-out of 2015.
“There’s been a real lift in energy this week,” he said earlier in the week.
“The boys know there’s a game around the corner and they’ve really gotten excited about it, which is great to see from my point of view.
“We’re not too concerned about the result itself — winning or losing isn’t what we’re up here to do. We have our goals that we want to see from the match, and for many of these boys, it’s about just getting good minutes into their legs and really executing some of the new things we’ve been working on at training.
Farah, who will captain the side on Friday, said that the involvement of many young players in the Club was a driving factor behind the increased energy.
“I think one of the biggest reasons there’s such a buzz and energy around the Club at the moment is these young guys being in the team,” he said.
“They’re always so happy to be at training and really putting their best in all the time, and that makes some of the older guys like myself want to keeping trying to do the same.
“In addition to having guys like Mitch Moses and Luke Brooks [who won’t play this week due to his selection in the NRL All Stars team], we’ve also had a number of our 20’s guys come up to our squad this year — some of them we’ve got here with us in Manaia Cherrington, Delouise Hoeter and Lamar Liolevave. Those guys have really adjusted well to being in an NRL environment more, and they’ve looked really good throughout pre-season so far.”
Playing for the Royal Flying Doctors’ Service Cup at ANZAC Oval in Alice Springs, the match itself will be played in four 20-minute quarters in order to combat the heat, which is still expected to be above 30-degrees at the 7:40pm kickoff.
Date — Friday, February 13
Time — 7:40pm kickoff local time (9:10pm AEDT)
Venue — ANZAC Oval, Alice Springs
Robbie Farah (capt.), Nathan Brown, Jack Buchanan, Manaia Cherrington, Josh Drinkwater, Keith Galloway, Dene Halatau, Delouise Hoeter, Chris Lawrence, Lamar Liolevave, Kyle Lovett, Shannon McDonnell, Mitchell Moses, Kevin Naiqama, Pat Richards, Brenden Santi, Ava Seumanufagai, Tim Simona, Curtis Sironen, Sauaso Sue, Martin Taupau, Aaron Woods.
Tim Mannah (capt.), Isaac De Gois, David Gower, Darcy Lussick, Cody Nelson, Pauli Pauli, Peni Terepo, Danny Wicks, Richie Fa’aoso, Ryan Morgan, Vai Toutai, Adam Quinlan, Halauafu Lavaka, Beau Champion, Ryan Matterson, Joseph Ualesi, John Folau, Ben Crooks, Fabian Goodall, Zach Dockar-Clay, Junior Paulo, Joseph Aloiai, Luke Kelly.