There’s two things to note from the Wests Tigers team coach Michael Maguire has named for Saturday’s round nine clash against Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale.
The first is confirmation he has Jake Simpkin higher up in the pecking order than Jacob Liddle – the hooker everyone believed was the successor to Robbie Farah.
And the second is that Maguire is a forgiving man – he may drop you, but not for long.
As evidence for that we give you Tyrone Peachey, who’s back in the number 14 jumper just a couple of weeks after being dropped.
To his name you can add that of Ken Maumalo, who was dropped but didn’t miss a game thanks to injuries to others, including this week when he takes the place of Campbelltown local hero David Nofoaluma, pictured above.
Talking of injuries, it has to be said the Wests Tigers have copped more than their fair share of them in the first eight weeks of the premiership.
This is not to excuse some of the performances, which have been a little ordinary.
OK, they were very ordinary – but there’s no doubt Wests Tigers would have a better record than two wins and six losses after eight rounds if they had not exhausted their resources of outside backs early on in the season.
For the Manly game, out goes one of the side’s best, David Nofoaluma for concussion, and Luciano Leilua, who has succumbed to a hamstring injury.
On the plus side, boom prop Stefano Utoikamanu returns.
The young forward set for higher honours hasn’t played since late March following an ankle injury in round three which required surgery.
Young hooker Simpkin has missed the last two games after suffering an ankle injury in the team’s round six win over Parramatta.
The 12-6 loss to St George on Sunday came off the back of a very good showing from the forwards, led by the re-invigorated James Tamou.
Unfortunately, great defence by the home side kept the Wests Tigers at bay for the 80 minutes.
ROUND 9 – Wests Tigers NRL
1. Starford To’a
2. Asu Kepaoa
3. Oliver Gildart
4. Luke Garner
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Luke Brooks
7. Jackson Hastings
8. James Tamou
9. Jake Simpkin
10. Zane Musgrove
11. Kelma Tuilagi
12. Alex Seyfarth
13. Joe Ofahengaue
14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Alex Twal
16. Thomas Mikaele
17. Stefano Utoikamanu