Sheens turns to Tigers’ youth

Tim Sheens has included a strong contingent of young players in the Tigers squad that will take on North Queensland in Friday’s trial match.

Sheens has also selected former Canterbury winger Matt Utai, who is currently on trial with the club, to play at centre.

Utai, 29, is being lined-up as a replacement for Taniela Tuaki who looks unlikely to recover from a serious ankle injury.

Elsewhere, Sheens has chosen six players from the Tigers’ U20s team last year in Jake Mullaney, Jake Clarke, Matt Hyland, Neil Begovich, Dean Parata and Junior Roqica.

New recruits winger Ratu Tagive and half-back Jacob Miller are also in the team.

“There is plenty of flak about the U20s not being the right age and where do the players go once they are finished there. For us, they go into our NSW Cup teams,’’ Sheens said.

“We are giving our U20s players a pathway despite what the doomsayers say. Tagive, Miller, Begovich, Parata and Roqica can still play U20s this season.

“This is a good chance for me to look at some of these young players who have had full time summer training. We are giving a lot of our youngsters an opportunity to get exposed to first grade coaching and conditioning.

Wests Tigers are renowned for giving its youngsters a go…Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Chris Lawrence, Liam Fulton, Bryce Gibbs, Rob Lui, Simon Dwyer to name a few.”

Wests Tigers Squad

1 Jake Mullaney
2 Ratu Tagive
3 Jake Clarke
4 Matt Utai
5 Sam Latu
6 Sean Meaney
7 Jacob Miller
8 Andrew Pearn
9 Matt Hyland
10 Alan Schirnack
11 Nu Akeripa
12 Josh Davis
13 Jarred Farlow

Interchange

14 Neil Begovich
15 Alipate Noilea
16 Rhys Curran
17 Jason Schirnack
18 Matt Ryan
19 Dean Parata
20 Junior Roqica