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Five new recruits to make Wests Tigers debut against the Raiders

The beauty of round one each new season is that every team is on the same number of points.

But what’s also important to remember is that the result of the first game of the season won’t make or break an NRL side.

Still, after a decade of missing the finals, the 2021 season looks set to be a defining year for the Wests Tigers – one way or the other.

Their biggest asset, head coach Michael Maguire (pictured), made some tough decisions in the off season, including cutting loose club legend Benji Marshall, who will be wearing a Souths jersey in 2021.

There were also some quality signings, especially in the forwards, with props James Tamou and Joe Ofahengaue set to give the Wests Tigers pack a little bit of class in 2021.

With Daine Laurie and James Roberts bolstering the backline, coupled with some luck with injuries during the season, the Wests Tigers could do some damage this season.

If they don’t, well, it could spell big trouble for the club, and the coach, so fingers crossed.

Earlier this afternoon, Maguire named five of the club’s new recruits to make their Wests Tigers debuts in his side’s season opener against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium this Sunday.

 One of them, James ‘Jimmy the Jet’ Roberts is also set to play his 150th NRL game. Roberts will form part of a new backline for Wests Tigers in round one, with fellow new recruit Daine Laurie, as expected, named to start at fullback.

With Adam Doueihi (suspension) unavailable this week, Moses Mbye starts at five-eighth alongside Luke Brooks in the halves. A lot will be expected of Brooks following the departure of Marshall.

AJ Kepaoa and Joseph Leilua will form a new left-wing combination, with Tommy Talau listed on the bench.

Up front, captain James Tamou and Joe Ofahengaue form a new front-row rotation with Maori All Stars representative Russell Packer joining Thomas Mikaele and Stefano Utoikamanu on the bench – the latter of whom will make his Wests Tigers debut.

Halfback Jock Madden joins fellow rookie Tuki Simpkins, Michael Chee Kam and Alex Seyfarth amongst the reserves as part of the 21-man squad.
1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. James Roberts
4. Joseph Leilua
5. AJ Kepaoa
6. Moses Mbye
7. Luke Brooks
8. James Tamou (captain.)
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Joe Ofahengaue
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Alex Twal

14. Tommy Talau
15. Thomas Mikaele
16. Stefano Utoikamanu
17. Russell Packer


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