Exciting Wests Tigers recruit Daine Laurie believes he's "ready" to start at fullback in round one after scoring a double in Sunday's 52-18 trial romp against Manly.
The 21-year-old, who played three NRL games for Penrith last season, claimed two tries within 12 minutes at Leichhardt Oval.
The under-strength Sea Eagles lost Cade Cust to a suspected broken thumb after 25 minutes and didn't play stars including Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Dylan Walker and Jake Trbojevic.
Cust's injury threatened to leave Manly without a hooker in a fortnight's time, but coach Des Hasler said fellow No.9 option Lachlan Croker would be OK and was only "rested" for the trial.
Laurie, who made his Tigers debut in last weekend's emerging players clash with the Roosters, said he'll "take my opportunity with both hands" if selected for the season opener against the Raiders.
Match: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles
Round 3 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
"It's up to Madge [Michael Maguire] and the coaching staff .... If they put me in there, I'll do my job. I'm ready, I think."
Former captain Moses Mbye has trained at fullback in the pre-season but is racing the clock for round one with a hamstring issue.
Laurie, whose first try came from a blindside dummy-half scoot and his other from a Luciano Leilua offload, arrived at the Tigers earlier in February but already he feels at ease.
"Leichhardt on a Sunday afternoon – it looks good when it's all packed and to see all the crowd come out tonight was awesome," he said.
Leilua offloads to Laurie for a first-half double
"I only came over a couple of weeks ago, but the boys have just been working hard and I reckon [the trial] will be a good thing to go off."
Destructive centre Joey Leilua didn't feature for the Tigers due to a minor foot injury that required a moon boot but should be fine to lock horns with his former club in the nation's capital.
Josh Aloiai, facing the Tigers for the first time since his acrimonious off-season split, came off the interchange and had a decent hit-out with heavy strapping on the knee he injured last year.
For the Tigers, new centre James Roberts lined up on the right edge inside star winger David Nofoaluma, who grabbed a try after bagging 17 last season, and The Jet had some strong touches including a second-half touchdown from a deft Luke Brooks grubber.
Roberts was replaced with 17 minutes to go and earned a rousing reception from the passionate crowd of 5212.
Halfback Brooks himself was on song, first nicely partnering rookie Jock Madden and spending the second term with Adam Doueihi, who is suspended for round one, at five-eighth.
Left edge continues to fire for Wests Tigers as Talau scores
Brooks mostly assumed the goal-kicking duties – a skill he's been practising throughout the pre-season – in a sign he'll have the tee in round one. Doueihi took over once Brooks was on the bench.
After Laurie's quickfire brace, precocious Manly five-eighth Josh Schuster placed a cross-field kick for halfback Kaeo Weekes to score.
Tries to winger Asu Kepaoa and centre Tommy Talau, who started at left centre, ensured the Tigers remained in control.
Victory brings belief to Maguire and his team
A bloodbath ensued in the second half as the Tigers rumbled up-field with ease. Doueihi, Roberts, Kelma Tuilagi, Nofoaluma and bench hooker Jake Simpkin pushed the Tigers past the half-century mark.
Youngster Ben Trbojevic and Schuster provided rare highlights for the Sea Eagles as they crossed the stripe.
In more good Tigers news, promising pivot Madden has inked a one-year contract extension, and the club is also expected to announce the signing of former Rabbitohs prop Tom Amone on Monday.
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