Injuries costly for Wests Tigers
Wests Tigers duo Aaron Woods and David Nofoaluma are unlikely to line-up for their respective countries in next week's representative fixtures after suffering injuries in the 22-16 loss to the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday night.
While Woods' injury was the biggest talking point to come out of the loss, Nofoaluma remained on the field despite an ongoing knee complaint and is in doubt to play for Samoa against England in their Test match next weekend.
Wests Tiers coach Ivan Cleary admitted post-game Woods was a long-shot to play for Australia and will need scans to determine the extent of a hamstring injury, while the injury to Nofoaluma restricted the in-form winger to perform in full flight.
"He's gone for a scan but it's obviously not great," Cleary said of Woods.
"He'd be 1000-1 [for the Test] but I'm not a doctor. It was through force, he wasn't running when it happened.
"We had a lot of brave boys out there tonight playing injured, obviously we lost a few troops and under the interchange we had a few struggles.
"[Nofoaluma] was on one leg pretty much the whole game, he said he had the same thing last year so he got a knock around the medial ligament so it's just very painful and we hope around the joint is stable.
"We really missed a guy like 'Noffa', he makes such a difference in terms of penetrating the back field and giving us a good start to our sets so we just lost that with him tonight."
There was positive news around James Tedesco after the Wests Tigers fullback left the field due to a high shot from Sharks five-eighth James Maloney three minutes before the break.
"He's a bit better now, I didn't see him at half-time but from all reports they knew he was gone straight away," Cleary said.
"There were positive signs but in the end the tries we conceded were disappointing and we had every right to stop them in that second half and we couldn't get any decent ends to our sets.
"If you're not finishing sets well that starts to pile up against you."
Celebrating his 200th appearance in the Telstra Premiership at Leichhardt Oval after achieving the milestone back in Round 6, vice-captain Chris Lawrence admitted the reshuffle due to injury affected the team's overall fluency with the ball in hand late in the game.
"It was obviously tough, some of the boys were running on empty but we had plenty of opportunity in those last 15 minutes to put some points on the board," he said.
"We just didn't execute well enough and then our defence in the back end of the game wasn't good enough."
Despite the result, Cleary admitted he liked what he saw with the side's willingness and attitude since he took over the coaching duty a month ago.
"I'm not surprised [by the commitment]… they've shown it every day in the training paddock," Cleary said.
"For as long as I've been here… I've been impressed.
"I think there is so much in this team and there's so much improvement to make and I'm looking forward to being part of that."