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Against the odds, Wests Tigers are still standing in 2022

Wests Tigers fans were calling on the club to give Adam Doueihi a lifetime contract after his superlative performance in the 32-18 victory over the Broncos last Saturday night.

And who could blame them.

Since his return from injury in the past few weeks, Doueihi has inspired his teammates to the point where the Wests Tigers are the form team of the NRL.

The past month the team, who looked like they had a mortgage on the wooden spoon before then, have been playing like a top eight side.

Unlucky against Parramatta and Penrith, ripped off against the Cowboys, no worries – they smash the Broncos in Brisbane in front of a huge crowd.

The two points mean Wests Tigers are off the bottom of the ladder, and now look like a team that wants more wins before the season ends.

It’s worth pointing out that the dramas, on and off the field, have not stopped in 2022.

The coach was sacked and the number of injuries this season are next level.

Hastings being carried off, and, top, Doueihi mobbed by teammates after scoring a brilliant try against the Broncos.

Luke Brooks was out for the season last week, and is joined this week by Jackson Hastings, the other inspirational member of this resilient club.

Ahead of this Sunday’s home game at Campbelltown against the Newcastle Knights, the injury ward includes Luke Garner, Stefano Utoikamanu, Tommy Talau and Shawn Blore.

And yet the club is generous enough to help out top sides like Melbourne, loaning out to them David Nofoaluma for the remainder of the 2022 NRL season.

Also, English centre Oliver Gildart will join the Sydney Roosters on loan for the remainder of the season.

But none of it has made a difference as the Wests Tigers turned the corner, giving fans optimism that 2023 will be a much better season.

Winning most, if not all, of their remaining five matches is important to give them a foundation for next season.

It starts with the Knights, which looms as a danger game for Wests Tigers, who will be expected to win easily.

Interim coach Brett Kimmorley has just named the 22-man squad for Sunday’s Round 21 match against Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Fonua Pole has been elevated into the starting side replacing injured lock Jackson Hastings.

Tom Freebairn has been added to the side and is in line to make his NRL debut off the bench.

The 26-year-old is in his second year at Wests Tigers and has been leading the club’s NSW Cup side, Western Suburbs Magpies this season.

Freebairn is a former Australian Schoolboys representative who joined Wests Tigers from North Sydney Bears last year.

He will become the sixth player to make his NRL debut for Wests Tigers in 2022.

WESTS TIGERS V KNIGHTS, 4PM KICK OFF
1. Daine Laurie
2. Brent Naden
3. Starford To’a
4. Asu Kepaoa
5. Ken Maumalo
6.  Adam Doueihi
7.  Jock Madden
8.  James Tamou
9.  Fa’amanu Brown
10. Joe Ofahengaue
11. Alex Seyfarth
12. Kelma Tuilagi
13. Fonua Pole

INTERCHANGE:
14. Zane Musgrove
15. Austin Dias
16. Tom Freebairn
17. Tyrone Peachey

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