Tigers forwards to shoulder load against Souths
Wests Tigers will need the rest of the club's middle men to shoulder some extra workload in the wake of a hamstring injury to skipper Aaron Woods when the team confronts a Rabbitohs outfit desperate to bounce back from a horror hiding from Manly a fortnight ago.
The Tigers have shown hints of improvement since new coach Ivan Cleary took over, toppling the Bulldogs in Round 8 before only narrowly going down to the premiers at home in Round 9 despite losing Woods and fullback James Tedesco (concussion) in the first half.
Speaking from club training on Tuesday ahead of the big Indigenous Round clash, Woods's teammates backed the remaining forwards to lift in the Test prop's absence.
"It's going to be the responsibility of everyone in the forward pack to really lift their work rate to compensate for Woodsy because he gets through a mountain of work for us in the middle there so it won't be up to one guy, it's going to be a collective job to help replace him," back-rower Chris Lawrence told NRL.com.
"It's going to be really good for those [fringe] guys and it's going to give them an opportunity to play more minutes and show they are capable and getting a bit of an opportunity."
Lawrence for one remembered what Manly did to Souths last start and was expecting Michael Maguire's men to be stinging.
"Obviously they're coming off a big loss two weeks ago so they are going to be fired up and looking to start fast and hard which we're aware of."
One of the men who will need to shoulder some of the extra burden is Samoa international Sauaso Sue, who has been named at prop for Friday's clash.
"It's a massive game this week against Souths, they'll be coming out firing after the loss against Manly so they've had two weeks to prepare for us and it should be a good game," Sue told NRL.com.
He was hoping to gain a lift from his recent experience with the Samoa Test team, despite them going down to England 30-10.
"It was a good camp, good build up," Sue said of his week with Toa Samoa.
"Our main focus was just build for the World Cup. I think we set a good platform there and looking towards the World Cup.
"We've got a pretty squad at the moment, a lot of boys who aren't in it are pushing for spots. The competition for the Samoa jersey is probably the best it's ever been.
"The more time the boys spend together the better the combinations will be and the better we'll become."
Prop Tim Grant, named on the bench to face his former club this Friday, said the team isn't in a bad spot given a couple of reasonable performances since Cleary took over.
"We're building as a team. Ivan's come in and we've changed a few things that we're doing and learning that new structure and that sort of stuff. We're heading in the right direction that's for sure," Grant said.
"We've got some really good young guys [who can help shoulder Woods's workload] and we've got some senior guys here as well that are going to have to step up. We'll have 17 players out on the field and I'm sure we'll be right."