Tigers still troubled by injuries
He's already two months into the new job, but new Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor still hasn't been able to get his hands on most of his starting line-up.
As many as eight first-graders remain on ice heading into the Christmas break, having spent the majority of the off-season thus far recovering from various ailments.
And the list is all too familiar: David Nofoaluma (knee), Curtis Sironen (groin), Dene Halatau (ankle), James Tedesco (knee), Keith Lulia (neck) and Tim Moltzen (knee).
First choice halves Luke Brooks (hamstring) and Mitchell Moses (groin) have yet to advance to full contact training.
In addition to that, Four Nations participants Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Tim Simona, Jesse Sue and Martin Taupau have yet to return from holidays and aren't expected back until after the Christmas break.
"The guys have trained really well. I'm really happy with how training is going and that we're developing," Taylor told NRL.com on Monday.
"However, the one thing that's still there as an issue is the fact that our Four Nations guys haven't trained with us and there's still a number of our high-profile players that are recovering from operations they had at the end of the season."
Taylor has already stated a number of times since taking over the clipboard in October that overcoming the club's injury curse will be a top priority.
"Yeah, that's an issue for us," Taylor said just last month. "I don't want to make too much of it because it can be something that's hard to control. But we will be focusing hard on trying to improve the results in that area."
However the former Rabbitohs and Eels mentor, who arrives at a club forced into playing a total 32 players last season (second only to Cronulla) has been forced to remain patient.
"There's still a good chunk of our team that would be in our best starting team who aren't on the training paddock doing everything day-to-day at the moment. Things have gone really well, but that's an issue for us and I'm looking forward to us getting on the other side of that, particularly those top-line guys on the training paddock," he said.
While Taylor wouldn't divulge the full extent of his players' injuries, he did suggest that some may not recover in time for their season kick-off against the Titans on the Gold Coast.
"There's some that are [in doubt], but they're a bit touch and go. They'd like to think they'll be there, but I don't want to be mention that sort of stuff," he said.
"I saw that – it's really great. It's really good for the club that we're going to get that much exposure. But from my perspective as the coach, we just need to be ready to perform in those games," he said.