Naiqama in line for NRL comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Naiqama in line for NRL comeback

By Todd Balym 16/04/2009 05:37:19 PM Comments (0)

Fiji World Cup hero Wes Naiqama is in line for an NRL return with Newcastle on Saturday with winger Akuila Uate in doubt for the clash with ladder leaders St George Illawarra at WIN Jubilee Oval.

NSW Country Origin hopeful Uate is struggling to overcome a hamstring injury and Naiqama is the man most likely to fill the role if he is ruled out of facing the Dragons.

Naiqama injured his knee in offseason training and underwent surgery that meant he could not resume running until last month.

The 26-year-old former Dragons centre made a midweek comeback in the Newcastle local competition last week and only just missed out on facing the Warriors in last Sunday's win.

Newcastle coach Brian Smith confirmed Uate was unlikely to face the Dragons and that Naiqama would come under serious consideration for a return.

"(Uate) has not 100 per cent been ruled out yet, but he is unlikely to play," said Smith.

"Wes is in the squad, we will take 19 to Sydney tomorrow and we will make our final decision about that then."

Even if Naiqama does return Smith has ruled out a switch with Adam MacDougall so the veteran centre can square off with old rival Wendell Sailor.

MacDougall and Sailor have staged some classic battles over the years and entered an entertaining war of words at the start of the week.

Smith said MacDougall wasn't serious when he told media he would request to change his side of the field to face Sailor, although the coach said the idea had some merit.

"There's a bit jest in that, but there's definitely some thought about it because when a player has some success in a position on another player it deserves consideration," said Smith.

"(But) we are happy with the combination of Adam and Jimmy (James McManus). Jimmy has scored four tries in five games and 'Dougs' has thrown the final pass for each of those tries.

"They have been building a combination for a number of years now.

"Dougs is always good for a line for you guys and good for a laugh for me."

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