The biggest question about the Wests Tigers this week will be about their biggest off-season recruit, hooker Api Koroisau.
They’re back at Leichhardt this Sunday, hosting another round one loser, the Newcastle Knights.
The home side were all over the shop in their 22-10 defeat to the Gold Coast Titans, but one factor stood out last Sunday evening.
And that was head coach Tim Sheens not starting Koroisau, throwing rookie Jake Simpkin into battle instead, to the surprise of pretty much everyone.
And as talented young Simpkin is, the decision needs to be called out for what it was: a cute move that backfired on Sheens and the team.
I will go as far as to declare that Wests Tigers could have had the game won in those first 20 minutes when the experienced Koroisau was keeping the bench warm.
The home side had most of the ball and several excellent try scoring opportunities went begging.
Someone like Koroisau would no doubt have made the right call, given the right pass for a try or three.
So by the time he was sent out it was pretty much over.
It was a little disappointing to see that familiar Leichhardt sight of fans walking our long before the final hooter.
Having said that, there were some very good signs by the Wests Tigers, who were beaten by a stable side in the Titans.
New Wests Tigers recruits Charlie Staines and David Klemmer (pictured above) had very good games, as did Adam Doueihi in the second half.
The combinations were clunky, but that’s to be expected with so many new faces in the squad.
Given time, the Wests Tigers will be competitive this NRL season.
The key is time and patience from everyone involved, because after all Rome wasn’t built in a day.
In naming the team for Sunday’s clash, Tim Sheens has made minimal changes to the round one squad.
Alex Seyfarth comes onto the bench in place of Fonua Pole (knee), while Brandon Tumeth and Tuki Simpkins have been added to the extended bench.
Let’s hope Mr Sheens keeps any other cute ideas in the cupboard.
Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights: 4:05pm, Sunday, March 12, at Leichhardt Oval.
1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Brent Naden
4. Tommy Talau
5. Charlie Staines
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. Stefano Utoikamanu
9. Api Koroisau (c)
10. David Klemmer
11. Isaiah Papali’i
12. Shawn Blore
13. Joe Ofahengaue
14. Jake Simpkin
15. Asu Kepaoa
16. Alex Seyfarth
17. Alex Twal
18. Starford To’a
19. Junior Tupou
20. Tuki Simpkins
21. Justin Matamua
22. Brandon Tumeth