Marshall gets his wish, returns to five-eighth
After rejecting approaches from rival NRL and Super League clubs, boom Wests Tigers halfback Jacob Miller is set to get the chance to partner Benji Marshall in the halves.
New Tigers coach Mick Potter said he was yet to decide whether Miller or veteran recruit Braith Anasta would start the season at halfback, but he confirmed Marshall would revert to his favoured five-eighth role.
Former coach Tim Sheens's decision to switch Marshall to halfback and sign Anasta as a five-eighth is understood to have left Miller frustrated about his future at the club and he had been linked to Parramatta, Hull FC and Gold Coast.
But Potter said the Tigers under 20s premiership-winning captain, who played five NRL matches in 2011, was being considered at halfback and Anasta may move to lock.
''Benji is a proven five-eighth, so I would imagine that is where he is going to start the year,'' Potter said.
''Whether that means Braith plays lock and Jacob Miller plays halfback, or Braith plays halfback and Liam Fulton or Adam Blair plays lock, I am not sure.
''I watched the under 20s grand final and I thought Jacob Miller was very handy in that game.
''There is a multitude of options and, at stages during the year, we may need those options.''
Before Potter's appointment on October 24, there had also been speculation about Blake Ayshford's future at the Tigers but the Super League coach of the year said the 24-year-old centre was in his plans for next season.
''I am very happy with the squad that is here,'' Potter said.
''Blake Ayshford and Chris Lawrence are both good centres. The first week of training has been good, the players have been very responsive and very willing. They are all relatively fit and they all want to improve, which is ultimately what we want them to do.''
Another key position yet to be determined is fullback, with Tim Moltzen wanting to settle into the No 1 jersey rather than playing a utility role and James Tedesco returning to action after a knee reconstruction.
Potter said both would be given a chance to stake a claim to the fullback role and indicated that positions on the wing may also be up for grabs.
''James Tedesco has been looking very good at pre-season training and there are some big wraps on him,'' Potter said.
''It was unfortunate in the season just gone for Wests Tigers that he got injured in the first game, because there are some people who say he is going to be a very good fullback. We will get a chance to find that out.
''Tim can possibly play on the edge for you, he can play fullback and at a pinch you could throw him in the halves if you needed to. I think he wants to have a crack at fullback so we will see how he goes early on.''
Curtis Sironen is another player whose best position has not yet been determined and Potter said he would wait until he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction before deciding where to play the 19-year-old.
''At the moment he can't do any contact but he looks very likely and with the skill he has got he can probably play a couple of positions,'' he said.
Potter, who has coached for seven years at Catalans, St Helens and Bradford, described the first week of training at the Tigers as ''steady'' but warned the players it would get harder.
''I wouldn't say it has been an impossible week for them. We are just building them up as we go so,'' he said.
At some stage the training will be difficult and I would say more often that not it will be difficult, but I don't think you want overuse injuries in the first week.
''This week has been solid and then next week and the week after we will build it up.''
Sydney Morning Herald