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Finals footy hopes gone, here come the Storm

Wests Tigers fans hoping to see the blooding of some youngsters now that finals hopes have been extinguished will be disappointed by the team named to take on Melbourne this Saturday.

Jock Madden in the number 20 jumper is as close as coach Michael Maguire has come in giving game time to some of the talented youngsters coming through.

As they say in the classics, it’s possible but highly unlikely Madden will play against the Storm to give him some first grade experience ahead of 2021.

The rookie halfback, pictured, has been named on the extended bench alongside some other talented youngsters in Tommy Talau, Jacob Liddle and Michael Chee Kam.

So another question for Maguire is: what’s Liddle doing on the reserves when Harry Grant is almost certain to return to Melbourne at the end of this season?

Indeed for a team that only had a mathematical chance of playing finals footy in the past four or five rounds, it’s an interesting lineup named to face the ruthless Storm at Sunshine Coast Stadium from 5.30pm.

With Luke Brooks suspended for one match, Josh Reynolds returns to the run-on side and will start at five-eighth alongside captain Benji Marshall in the halves.

Benji has been told he won’t be re-signed for next year and Reynolds is on thin ice, so it’s anybody’s guess what is the point of this selection in the halves.

Marshall will once again captain the side with Moses Mbye sidelined, while Joseph Leilua returns from an ankle injury to take his place in the centres, alongside the retiring Chris Lawrence.
 Sam McIntyre earns a start in the back row with Luke Garner dropping back to the bench, ostensibly for some defensive lapses in the narrow loss to South Sydney last weekend.

Zane Musgrove meanwhile returns for his first game since picking up an injury in round six, which seems an eternity ago.

WESTS TIGERS V MELBOURNE STORM:

1. Adam Doueihi
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Joseph Leilua
4. Chris Lawrence
5. Asu “AJ” Kepaoa
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Benji Marshall (captain)
8. Josh Aloiai
9. Harry Grant
10. Thomas Mikaele
11. Sam McIntyre
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Alex Twal

INTERCHANGE:
14. Zane Musgrove
15. Matt Eisenhuth
16. Russell Packer
17. Luke Garner

RESERVES:
18. Tommy Talau
19. Michael Chee Kam
20. Jock Madden
21. Jacob Liddle

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