Skandalis back for Wests Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Skandalis back for Wests Tigers

19/05/2009 06:03:11 PM Comments (0)

Local hero John Skandalis will return to where it all began with the premiership-winning prop answering an SOS from Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens to play in Friday night's clash against Brisbane.

The match will be Skandalis' first in the NRL in 992 days after quitting the club for the English Super League at the end of the 2006 season.

Sheens has rushed him into the starting line-up for the Campbelltown Stadium clash, the match marking the tenth anniversary of the joint-venture's first appearance in the NRL when they were held to a 24-all draw by the Broncos with Skandalis scoring the opening try.

Ten years on and Skandalis, who has been playing with Wests Magpies in the NSW Cup, is again in the spotlight as he comes to the aid of a Tigers squad decimated by injury, prop Keith Galloway ruled out for up to a month after undergoing minor knee surgery.

Fellow front rower Bryce Gibbs has been named but is in extreme doubt with a shoulder injury.

"I came back originally to play with the Magpies and that was it, I just wanted to see if I could get through that," the 32-year-old prop said.

"It was probably in the back of my mind a little bit but it was never talked about in depth.

"But once the injuries started coming it was mentioned maybe if I would come up and we have had a few injuries and he (Sheens) asked me to play.

"I feel like I've been playing well enough in reserve grade, different level obviously, I think it will be a big ask this week but I think I'm prepared and I'm very happy to be there."

For Skandalis, the opportunity to once again play with the likes of Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah is one he never dreamed would come up again following his `retirement' from the NRL.

He was given emotional send-offs at Campbelltown and Leichhardt, but admitted he never quite felt like his time was up.

"I think everyone retired me before I retired myself," Skandalis said.

"I'm not out there to get man of the match awards, I'll just make sure I do my job for the team and hopefully we can get a victory out of it."

Sheens said he wasn't looking for anything special from his new recruit, admitting he didn't think Skandalis would be available for selection until later in the year due to salary cap restrictions.

Skandalis doubles his playing role with the Magpies with his work as a community liaison officer with the Tigers, and it was believed he would be ineligible with both salaries counting toward the salary cap.

Common sense prevailed and Skandalis was cleared to play with Sheens thankful for the reinforcement.

"At this stage of the season with a few injuries to our key people in the front row, it's good to have him back," Sheens said.

"He's not going to get long periods, it's not the John Skandalis of ten years ago - he'll be part of a team that does the job."

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