In a series analysing who will line up in each position for all 16 teams in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership in 2021, NRL.com looks at the Wests Tigers.
NRL.com says: New recruit James Roberts is set to partner Joey Leilua in the centres, new signing Daine Laurie is expected to start at fullback with Moses Mbye at five-eighth.
Young gun Shawn Blore was set to beat out the likes of Luke Garner and Michael Chee-Kam for a starting back-row spot but now has a wrist injury so Garner is likely to partner Luciano Leilua.
High-profile recruits in former Panthers skipper James Tamou and former Maroons prop Joe Ofahengaue are likely to form a new front-row pairing.
Veteran forward Russell Packer, Tom Mikaele and highly rated former Eel Stefano Utoikamanu are fighting it out for bench spots while Jake Simpkin's ability to cover Jacob Liddle's minutes at hooker could get him a gig ahead of Michael Chee Kam.
Billy Walters won't be back from his knee reconstruction to start the year.
Jamie Soward says: Their question marks are around the No.1 and No. 6, which has been the case for a while. Luke Brooks, with no Benji, this has to be his year. If he's going to take the next step, can he do it this year and be the main guy from the start of the year?
It looks like Doueihi will be in the halves with him once he's back. Can Liddle stay fit at hooker?
Ofahengaue and Tamou are big ins and a boost in terms of experience but after that it drops off.
They do have some explosive talent in the backline with Roberts and Leilua in the centres and some great finishers in Nofa and Talau on the wings.
No one will rate them this year and with all the question marks around fullback and five-eighth in particular it's too much for me. I'm not investing in the Tigers because they're not settled and haven't been for a while.
Wests Tigers in 2021
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