There were no surprises when the Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire named his team for the round 18 clash against South Sydney Rabbitohs.
After a thrilling 34-32 win over the Sea Eagles in Round 17, Maguire has opted for the same 21-man squad for Thursday’s “home game’’ at Bankwest Stadium against the Rabbitohs.
Elijah Taylor, who has been told he won’t be around next year, is on the bench, while club stalwart Chris Lawrence, who has announced he’s retiring at the end of the season, is still on the reserves list, albeit at number 18.
It’s definitely no surprise to see Russell Packer (21) and Josh Reynolds (20) occupying the last two spots on the reserves list.
If there was a “left-right-out’’ bench it would be occupied by the club official who asked Luke Brooks to front the TV cameras and say Packer and Reynolds did nothing wrong by leaving the ground at half time during the Manly game.
The less said about that incident the better, so let’s get back to the team to take on the wounded Bunnies, whose winning streak was ended by Melbourne last round.
Co-captain Moses Mbye and Adam Doueihi will retain their spots at fullback and centre respectively after a successful switch last weekend, while Harry Grant and Jacob Liddle will again share the hooking duties.
Fans will be liking Liddle’s effort last week even though he got just a few minutes of action.
But with Grant more than likely to head back to Melbourne it’s good to know the Wests Tigers have a talented hooker in their roster for 2021.
David Nofoaluma also deserves some extra praise after another brilliant effort in scoring a hat-trick against Manly.
He has been exceptional in 2020, no doubt the team’s best player all season so far, by a very big margin.
If the selectors are fair dinkum, he should be one of the first players chosen for the NSW Origin side this year.
Goodness knows what else he has to do this season to win selection.
The Wests Tigers annual clash against the Rabbitohs will once again be for the Beyond Blue Cup, with the round helping to raise awareness for mental health in Australia.
1. Moses Mbye (co-captain)
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Joey Leilua
4. Adam Doueihi
5. Asu “AJ” Kepaoa
6. Benji Marshall (co-captain)
7. Luke Brooks
8. Josh Aloiai
9. Harry Grant
10. Thomas Mikaele
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Alex Twal
14. Matt Eisenhuth
15. Elijah Taylor
16. Jacob Liddle
17. Sam McIntyre
18. Chris Lawrence
19. Tommy Talau
20. Josh Reynolds
21. Russell Packer