Sheens to wait on injured stars

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens will give a number of key players time prove to their fitness ahead of tommorrow’s semi-final with Canberra.

The Tigers squad completed their final training session yesterday ahead of the clash, but doubt remains about the fitness of a number of key players.

Blake Ayshford is still suffering from illness, Benji Marshall is battling a knee injury while Gareth Ellis is struggling to recover from a back problem.

Prop Bryce Gibbs (knee) and winger Chris Lawrence (jaw) are also in doubt.

But Sheens says the injured players will be given “every opportunity” to prove their fitness.

“Every coach will give every senior player, let alone a key player, as much time as possible,’’ Sheens said prior to the training session.

“ I am keeping an open mind about it. I’m not going to decide right now but we do have alternative plans just in case the worst case scenario is they are not there.

“ I’ve brought a squad and we trained on Tuesday with that squad so we are ready to go if we need to.

“Our injuries are pretty well documented. We have two or three forwards at the moment and both centres in Blake Ayshford and Chris Lawrence. Both are very doubtful. And then there’s Marshall.

“We have got about six we are carrying but we have got contingencies.

“We will see how they go today and how they wake up in the morning and we will finalise things then.

“As for Chris, the specialist has told him that given contact and other things, he would probably allow it. We will wait for a fitness test to see how he comes through it. The call is his.

“The session today will determine how sore they pull up tomorrow. If they pull up too sore, they won’t play.”

Sheens added the team was not worried about playing a semi-final in Canberra. With Canberra winning last weekend, it meant the Raiders were rewarded with a home semi-final under the current McIntyre system.

“That’s been a beat up by the press. We are not worried about it. We have played all over the country this year,’’ Sheens said.

“It was up and down in a plane last night, it is only really an hour away. It is not as if we have travelled half way around the world to play. It is no big deal.

“The guys have all played here plenty of times. It is not as if we are in that foreign of a place, we know what to expect.

“They will come out hard and we have got to meet that.”

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