Wests Tigers named a 17-man squad for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines tournament with Robbie Farah set to lead the team across the Tasman this weekend.
Coach Mick Potter has named a well-balanced side including experienced forwards Adam Blair and Aaron Woods mixed in with exciting young guns James Tedesco and David Nofoaluma.
Rookies Mitchell Moses, Kurtis Rowe, Manaia Cherrington and Delouise Hoeter will also make the trip to Auckland later this week, adding enthusiasm and youth to the experienced squad.
Potter heralded club captain Robbie Farah as one of the stars to watch in the tournament, praising his fitness and competitive edge as a key weapon in the Wests Tigers’ attack.
''Robbie is one of our fittest players and playing that modified game it’s like running 400-metre (sprints) constantly and it’s very tough, “ he said.
''Add in that bit of contact and the skill level you need and I think he is one of the players that will do very well.”
Despite the fact that several members of the squad are yet to play a first-grade match, Potter also made special note of the youngsters in the squad, and predicted that the experience and additional space on the field should allow them to play their natural games.
“I think they will do alright, the experience will be good for them,” he said. “I think they will get a chance with larger spaces to show their speed and footwork. Just being involved in the tournament,
they will be really happy with themselves and when they get some game time they will do well.
“The tournament is going to be a great event for Rugby League and something that the fans will love and embrace,” said Potter.
Wests Tigers are in Pool Blue along with the Cronulla Sharks, Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans. The Club open their tournament with a match against the Titans at 11:00am AEDT on Saturday, February 15, followed by the Sharks at 2:20pm later that afternoon and the Knights at 10:25am on Sunday, February 16.
Wests Tigers squad: James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Pat Richards, Bodene Thompson, Marika Koroibete , Mitchell Moses, Blake Austin, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (C), Martin Taupau , Cory Paterson, Curtis Sironen , Adam Blair, Manaia Cherrington, Kurtis Rowe , James Gavet, Delouise Hoeter, (17th man).