Chris Lawrence has backed the Wests Tigers in-form front-rowers to add North Queensland’s Test props to their list of scalps at Campbelltown on Saturday.
Tipped for a season of struggle, the Tigers have recorded outstanding wins over the heavily-fancied South Sydney and Manly in addition to a 42-12 thumping over surprise early ladder leaders the Gold Coast in their opening five games.
While their young playmakers James Tedesco and Luke Brooks have grabbed the headlines it’s the Tigers’ front-row, that’s been impressed most this year with Aaron Woods, Keith Galloway and Martin Taupau in outstanding form.
However, Lawrence acknowledged that James Tamou and Matt Scott will offer a stiff test for his side, who are looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time this year.
“The forward pack stood up to Souths and then Manly and this is going to be another test against the two Test front-rowers,” Lawrence said on Wednesday.
“But that is what you play footy for to test yourself against the best and I am sure they will be up for the challenge.”
The Tigers will be without Tedesco for up to nine weeks and Braith Anasta is suspended for the visit of the Cowboys.
Former Penrith playmaker Blake Austin will replace Anasta with young fullback Kurtis Rowe coming in for ankle syndesmosis victim Tedesco.
Lawrence admits the changes in such key positions aren’t ideal but hoped the pair will find their feet quickly.
“It’s going to be an adjustment for all of us, but we have trained well,” Lawrence said.
“Blake’s form in NSW Cup has been good and he has plenty of first-grade experience.
“Kurtis is a quiet young kid, but he has been great for us in the U20s for the last two years and he’ll go well.”