Wests Tigers are on track for a near full-strength side when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in their opening game of the 2019 season this Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
After coming through their only trial relatively unscathed, only Chris Lawrence is confirmed to be unavailable for selection this week, after the veteran forward suffered a serious broken jaw at training a fortnight ago. Lawrence has since flown home to Australia for surgery, and while his exact return date is still uncertain, the 30-year-old is expected to miss at least the first part of the 2019 season.
Paul Momirovski and Elijah Taylor were both kept out of the Warriors trial after minor quad and pec niggles in the lead-up to the game, but both are expected to be available for selection this week. The likes of Josh Reynolds, Corey Thompson, Matt Eisenhuth, Josh Aloiai and Robbie Rochow all made successful returns from off-season surgery in the trial and are right to go for the season opener.
The news isn't as good over on the Northern Beaches, however, with star fullback Tom Trbojevic expected to miss Saturday's game after he picked up a hamstring injury in his side's trial against Cronulla. The Origin representative isn't expected to miss more than the first couple of rounds, and will no doubt be given every chance to prove his fitness this week, but the early mail suggests it's unlikely.
Match: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles
Round 1 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
- LIVE PASS
The NRL's no-fault stand down policy will also see Dylan Walker miss the game, with the likes of Brendan Elliott and Brad Parker in line to replace the centre.
Taniela Paseka and Kelepi Tanginoa may also be ruled unavailable with knee injuries, although the pair are listed for a return in Round 2 — meaning there's every chance they could find their way in to the final team for Saturday's game.
Reports over the weekend suggest, however, that Corey Waddell is the man who will come in to the side with the duo's omission after impressing in the trials.
Both Wests Tigers and the Sea Eagles will unveil the 21-man squads for this week's game at 4:00pm on Tuesday, before reducing the squads to 19 players on Friday.
Final team lists will be confirmed one hour prior to kickoff (4:30pm, Saturday).