Bring it on Des, says Tuqiri - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bring it on Des, says Tuqiri

By Adrian Warren 10/03/2010 06:36:31 PM Comments (0)

Lote Tuqiri has one simple message for Manly coach Des Hasler - bring it on.

The newest Wests Tiger said he was ready for whatever the Sea Eagles were preparing to throw at him on Monday night when the dual international plays his first game of rugby league in more than seven years.

Hasler vowed to target the 30-year-old former Brisbane flyer, who will line up against Manly on the back of three training sessions and just five days after returning from a rugby union stint in England.

"If they want to bring it - so be it. I'll welcome the challenge," Tuqiri said just hours after touching down in Sydney.

"I'll train with the boys over the next few days and see if I can get a start and see if they can target me."

While Tigers coach Tim Sheens admits playing his star recruit is a gamble, he questioned the wisdom in Hasler's method.

"Targeting a winger's not easy," Sheens said.

"You can ruin a game-plan trying to do that and I think he's pretty good under the ball and things like that."

While some would consider a rushed comeback foolhardy, Tuqiri's willingness to challenge himself against the Sea Eagles is hardly surprising when you consider his motives in returning to rugby league.

He could easily have remained at Leicester where he had quickly established himself as a fan favourite, or even chased the big bucks on offer in French rugby a la Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier.

Rather, Tuqiri said he wanted the challenge of playing against the best in the world, and the opportunity to have some fun after complaining of being starved of the ball during his time with the NSW Waratahs.

"At times in the last few years I haven't enjoyed myself as much as I probably could have," Tuqiri told a packed media conference.

"I'd like to play in an enjoyable team and playing on the end of a backline with the spark that they do will be awesome.

"I like to challenge myself and throw myself back in the deep end and challenge myself against a lot of superstars ... and see if I've still got it or not.

"There's a bit of pressure on me I suppose."

Few doubt that the Fijian-born superstar will find his feet quickly, and there has even been talk Tuqiri could be back in the maroon of Queensland for this year's State of Origin series.

Sheens however did his best to hose down expectations being placed on his star recruit, saying it could some time before Tuqiri reaches his full potential at the Tigers.

And it's why Sheens is still toying with the idea of scratching him from Monday night's season-opener, if Tuqiri shows any ill-effects from his mad dash back to Australia.

"We've got three years to get things to happen and if it means a delay of a week, so be it," Sheens said.

"Lote's part of a team - if we don't play well, he can't play well.

"Lets not get carried away too much with the big fella - I'm not expecting a lot from him for the first part of the season.

"He can finish and we know that and he likes to get involved so we should fit well ... but the team can't sit back and say `great - give it to Lote and away he goes."

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