The footy’s back and it’s taken no time at all for the selection fun to begin.
There will be five new faces in the Wests Tigers team for the round one clash with St George Illawarra at Wollongong on Sunday evening.
Brothers Joey and Luciano Leilua will play their first ever NRL match together, having been named in the starting line up by Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire.
Three other new recruits, Adam Doueihi, Billy Walters and Zane
Musgrove, have also been included for their first game in Wests Tigers colours.
Doueihi will start in the centres, while Walters has been named at hooker and Musgrove on the bench.
After an impressive 2019 campaign that saw him voted as the club’s players’ player of the year, Corey Thompson will start at fullback with David Nofoaluma and Robert Jennings rounding out the back five with spots on the wing.
Young props Josh Aloiai and Alex Twal will both start the match, as will Elijah Taylor who will feature at lock – that one being an unexpected selection from the coach.
Thomas Mikaele and Chris Lawrence join Musgrove on the interchange bench, where Josh Reynolds will also be after young Walters was named as starting hooker.
Michael Chee Kam, Oliver Clark, Matt Eisenhuth and Paul Momirovski have been named as reserves in the 21 man squad.
However all eyes will be on half Luke Brooks, pictured above, who has sailed under the radar heading into round one.
His performances, especially game management, will be key if the Wests Tigers are to finish a little higher than ninth in 2020.
There will also be a lot of interest in how young hooker Billy Walters, son of Kevin, Queensland State of origin coach and Broncos legend, fares in first grade football.
The match will kick off at 6pm.
1. Corey Thompson
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Joseph Leilua
4. Adam Doueihi
5. Robert Jennings
6. Benji Marshall (captain.)
7. Luke Brooks
8. Josh Aloiai
9. Billy Walters
10. Alex Twal
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Elijah Taylor
14. Thomas Mikaele
15. Josh Reynolds
16. Zane Musgrove
17. Chris Lawrence
18. Michael Chee Kam
19. Oliver Clark
20. Matt Eisenhuth
21. Paul Momirovski