Key trio back together for Wests Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Key trio back together for Wests Tigers

By Steve Jancetic 22/07/2011 04:04:08 PM Comments (0)

They've been together just once in 2011, but the combination which helped propel Wests Tigers to the brink of last year's NRL grand final has been reunited once more.

Left edge trio Gareth Ellis, Chris Lawrence and Lote Tuqiri will play alongside each other for just the second time this season against Sydney Roosters on Saturday night, their return leaving the Tigers confident they can mount a late run for this year's title.

While thoughts normally turn to midfield duo Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah when it comes to devising a plan to shut down the Tigers - Ellis, Lawrence and Tuqiri were generally the ones who turned their half breaks into points during last year's thrilling late season run.

"It's the first time probably since the start of year that we've had Gareth, Chrissy and Lote all on that left edge," Tigers skipper Farah said.

"It's no secret that's probably our go-to edge and there's a lot of size there and a lot of strike power, so having those guys there is definitely a massive boost for us."

Ellis, Lawrence and Tuqiri combined to score 39 tries for the Tigers in 2010, more than double the 19 scored by the five players who filled the corresponding positions on the other side of the field.

While the trio have played only the season-opener together so far this season, in all they have contributed just six tries in 2011, the lack of a regular scoring threat has been part of the reason behind the side's lack of consistency.

Ellis has been plagued by ankle and groin issues while Lawrence is just two games back from a dislocated hip which threatened to end his season prematurely.

Tuqiri suffered a broken arm before damaging ankle ligaments in his comeback game seven weeks ago, and is now due for a third coming against the Roosters.

And after breaking back into the top eight with last week's win over North Queensland, things are on the up for the Tigers, though Farah was wary of expecting too much too soon from his reunited left edge.

"It is (good timing) but those guys are going to be a little bit underdone so we can't expect them to come back and just slot straight in and win us the game," Farah said.

"But it does give us the confidence, knowing that we've got the full-strength side back.

"We're back to somewhere near our best so all those excuses about injuries and stuff like that, no more, and we'll just start to go out there and make our run towards the finals now."

Meanwhile the Tigers have signed rugby union back John Grant to a one-year contract for 2012.

Currently playing for undefeated Eastwood in the Sydney competition, the versatile 22-year-old can play as a winger, fullback or centre.

He is a nephew of former Balmain Tigers winger James Grant.

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