Quiet achiever Fonua Pole to play 50th NRL game

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Stefano Utoikamanu is the Wests Tigers prop everyone is talking about, but spare a thought for Fonua Pole, the other bookend in the front row.

Utoikamanu has been given permission to test his value in the market, while his partner in the engine room continues to quietly do his job for the team and coach Benji Marshall.

Pole, who will make his 50th NRL appearance against the Sharks this Friday night, had another big game against the Storm last Saturday at Leichhardt.

Utoikamanu on the other hand has not been performing to the standard he has set over the past couple of years.

Fans notice these things, so it was no surprise some of them took to social media to bag big Stef – and praise quiet achiever Fonua Pole.

Who knows if talking to other clubs has affected Utoikamanu’s concentration, but either way the club needs him back to his best for the rest of this season.

It is so important that the Tigers get some wins between now and the end of the season to make sure that when 2025 rolls around the boys start with a lot of confidence.

As they showed against the Storm, this is a raw team full of potential, and Benji Marshall is doing a good job under difficult circumstances moulding them into a force.

They certainly have points in them, scoring 28 against the Storm.

Unfortunately, they let in 40 off the back of another sin binning and periods of low intensity.

There are a couple of changes to the side for the round 19 match in the Shire against the Sharks.

Alex Lobb has been named on the wing for his first NRL game since Round 14, with Solomona Faataape shifting to the centres to replace Justin Olam (knee).

Reuben Porter has been added to the bench after playing NSW Cup last weekend with Starford To’a named in the extended squad after recovering from a serious hamstring injury.


1.  Jahream Bula

2.  Alex Lobb

3.  Adam Doueihi

4.  Solomona Faataape

5.  Charlie Staines

6.  Lachlan Galvin

7.  Aidan Sezer

8.  Stefano Utoikamanu

9.  Api Koroisau

10.  David Klemmer

11.  John Bateman

12.  Samuela Fainu

13. Fonua Pole


14. Heath Mason

15. Sione Fainu

16. Alex Seyfarth

17. Reuben Porter


18. Justin Matamua

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