Tigers V Panthers in NRL Trial match at Kirkham Oval. Picture: Jonathan Ng Tigers V Panthers in NRL Trial match at Kirkham Oval. Picture: Jonathan Ng
WESTS Tigers coach Mick Potter was a happy man after his team’s 32-8 win over Penrith Panthers in the trial at Kirkham Oval on Saturday night.
Potter was looking for attitude from his players — a sign they wanted a spot in his NRL squad this season.
And that’s what he got, particularly in defence.
“You saw how important it was for them to stop the other team from scoring tries,” Potter told the Advertiser after the game.
“We had players everywhere trying to scramble and we were getting numbers in tackles.
“The way they worked together was really refreshing.
“It wasn’t a surprise but it was better than I was expecting at this time of the year.”
The Tigers dominated the Panthers, with sharp, quick ball movement and a smart kicking game the highlights in attack — thanks largely to young halfback Blake Austin who showed great confidence in barking orders and directing players around the field.
Austin may have played himself into the No.7 jersey ahead of young gun Luke Brooks who missed the trial because of injury.
Potter agreed it’s a hard choice between Austin and Brooks but he wouldn’t be drawn on who would make the run-on side.
“It’s a problem. It’s a good problem to have,” Potter said. “We’ll worry about that once we get to [the season opener on] March 9.”
Whoever gets the spot, Potter said it was likely they would be paired with the experience of Braith Anasta at five-eighth.
On a sour note, utility Dene Halatau broke his ankle during the game and will miss up to five months of footy after surgery.
■ Aaron Woods has re-signed with the Tigers for three years, with an option for a fourth.
“I’m really happy with the new deal, it’s great to get it out of the way before the season starts so I can concentrate on footy,” Woods said.
“We have a good platform for the next couple of years with talented young guys coming through and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay.”
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