Tigers at sixes and sevens over halfback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers at sixes and sevens over halfback

18/02/2010 10:12:43 AM Comments (0)

It's the key position they've struggled to fill since losing premiership captain Scott Prince and confusion remains over the Wests Tigers No.7 spot just three weeks out from the 2010 season.

Such is the uncertainty that even coach and star playmaker appear at odds over the halfback role, with Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall throwing up different alternatives for the position.

Marshall has backed youngster Robert Lui - who will start at halfback in Sunday's Foundation Cup trial match against the Sydney Roosters - as the long-term solution, something the club hasn't had since Prince headed north to join Gold Coast in 2007.

Sheens on the other hand has suggested Tim Moltzen could see plenty of time at halfback, the veteran coach fearful of rushing Lui before his time.

The imminent arrival of dual international Lote Tuqiri only complicates matters, with Sheens seemingly intent on playing the former Brisbane flyer at fullback.

"At the moment I am using Timmy Moltzen at one but I am hopeful that will go eventually to Tuqiri," Sheens said.

"Tim had a great season last season at fullback and when he played seven he did very well.

"Robert Lui has a future at seven if he really wants to take it as he has terrific talent, but he has a long way to go, he is 19.

"At the moment I am using Robbie (Lui) to bring up his confidence levels and once he starts dominating Robbie (hooker Robbie Farah) and Benji that's when the kid will show the class he has got, because with ball in hand there isn't many better.

"But I am going to blood him slowly this season and the trial is a good start."

Marshall though appears keen for Lui's apprenticeship to stretch into the regular season, believing the Tigers were best served with Moltzen at fullback.

Lui played three games at halfback for the Tigers late last season - the joint venture winning in his debut game before back to back losses put paid to their finals hopes.

"Robbie's been going pretty good - we've trained (together) since January with me and Robbie in the halves," Marshall said.

"Tim's going to be playing fullback no doubt. I think that's his position and if he has to fill in the halves he can, but definitely fullback for Tim.

"I'm sure He (Lui) will hold his own, he's one of the most talented kids I've seen, he just needs a bit of time."

Asked where that would leave Tuqiri - who is expected to miss the opening month of the season, Marshall said:

"Taniela (Tuiaki is) going to be out for a while on the wing, so I thing Lote will probably slip in on the wing for a bit.

"But who knows what's going to happen over the course of the season."

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