Moltzen excited by Thurston challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Moltzen excited by Thurston challenge

By Ian McCullough 14/07/2009 04:12:18 PM Comments (0)

Facing the best player in the world in a must-win game would faze most youngsters but rookie Wests Tigers halfback Tim Moltzen says he can't wait to test himself against Johnathan Thurston.

Moltzen will go head-to-head with North Queensland's State of Origin and Test superstar on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval, in a game the Tigers cannot lose if they are to preserve their anorexic finals hopes.

The 20-year-old made a successful debut appearance in the No.7 shirt against South Sydney in round 17, scoring two tries and helping to orchestrate a 54-20 victory and said he is happy to remain in the role despite spending most of this season at fullback.

Tigers coach Tim Sheens admitted recently he needs to sort out a solid partnership in the halves, something the team has not had since Scott Prince moved to the Gold Coast three seasons ago.

The 2005 premiers have not made the finals since Prince's departure and after Sheens aborted plans to convert Benji Marshall into a No.7, Moltzen has been given the chance to show he can be the solution.

And who else better to test your mettle against than Thurston, who has made a habit of coming back strongly after backing up from State of Origin and Test matches this season.

"I haven't thought too much about playing against Johnathan, but I love testing myself against the best and he is that," he said.

"It will be a big occasion for me to play a daytime game at Leichhardt as I have never done that, and I really can't wait to get out there."

In addition to playing fullback, Moltzen has also filled in as a centre and five-eighth due to injuries this season, but said he had no complaints about being the team's Mr Versatile.

"I did enjoy playing fullback and centre and I am enjoying playing in the halves which is not that new to me as I have played there before," Moltzen said.

"My role is to take a bit of pressure off Benji and lead the team around.

"Probably this time last year I wouldn't be comfortable in calling over Benji, but now I am more confident of my role in the team I find it alright."

Tigers assistant coach Royce Simmons admitted he's not sure if Moltzen's best position is at halfback, but said he was confident the youngster would take to the role without any problems.

"We are still pretty open with playing him there, as we have said in the past, the seven and six are just numbers on their backs. One plays right one plays left and so on," Simmonds said.

"Tim's defence is very good and along with Gareth Ellis, he has been one of our in-form players in a team that is not going too well."

Simmonds also distanced the club from speculation axed Cronulla halfback Brett Seymour would be handed a lifeline by the Tigers.

"Probably at this stage it is not something we will pursue. We have a young lad in our `20s called Robert Lui who we think has a big future," he said.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see him go around in first grade before the end of the season and at this stage we see that as the future."

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