Wests Tigers Coach Michael Maguire looks set to welcome back some key troops from injury and suspension for Friday's must-win Round 12 clash against the New Zealand Warriors.
Maguire intimated after the match on Thursday that as many as six players could be back available for selection with Alex Twal, Luke Garner, Robert Jennings, Josh Reynolds, Thomas Mikaele and new recruit Asu Kepaoa all in the mix.
The potential inclusion of Twal and Mikaele would add some further starch to the Wests Tigers engine room ahead of Friday's clash with the Warriors — particularly given the one-week suspension accrued by Russell Packer — while Garner's return would cover the likely absence of Michael Chee Kam, who continues to recover well after a precautionary trip to hospital on Thursday night.
Shawn Blore's eye-catching cameo off the bench in his NRL debut will have the teenage tyro pushing for selection once again, Sam McIntyre is expected to be available for selection having returned from a head knock on the night.
Reynolds' availability present an interesting option for Wests Tigers in the halves with Billy Walters, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks all featuring in his absence. Prior to his two-week suspension in Round 9, the energetic playmaker had started the previous five matches at five-eighth with Marshall out of the side, but the Kiwi veteran's strong return does create an intriguing selection conundrum as he likely retains his spot in either the number six or seven jersey.
Jennings and new recruit Kepaoa will be pushing to make their way in to the side but the strong form of David Nofoaluma and Tommy Talau on the respective wings might make it tough for the time being. Fullback Adam Doueihi did succumb to a head knock on Thursday night but is expected to be named and available to play on Friday given the eight-day turnaround for this week's match.
The New Zealand Warriors are also not without their fair share of team news with a handful of players set to return home across the Tasman prior to Friday's game.
Outside backs David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo, as well as forwards Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa will all head back to New Zealand and will not feature against Wests Tigers on Friday. Leivaha Pulu had already returned home prior to Round 11 also, leaving the Warriors with a number of positions to fill this weekend.
On-loan duo Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings both look likely to slot straight in this weekend with Gerard Beale and Patrick Herbert also available in the backs.
Match: Wests Tigers v Warriors
Round 12 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Wayde Egan is also a chance to return having missed Round 11 with a hip injury.
Both teams will name their 21-man squads at 4:00pm on Tuesday before providing an updated 19-man squad at 6:00pm on Thursday.
Final team lists will then be confirmed one hour prior to kickoff (5:00pm, Friday).