Kiwi Kurtis Rowe to start for the Wests Tigers
A graduate from Benji Marshall's finishing school has been chosen to make his NRL debut on Saturday as the Wests Tigers continue to regenerate following their former playmaker's switch to rugby.
Kurtis Rowe, a 20-year-old fullback from Taranaki, has been promoted from NSW Cup duty to replace James Tedesco, who has been ruled of the sixth round clash with North Queensland at Campbelltown Stadium with an ankle injury.
Tedesco could in fact be ruled out for nine weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his damaged ankle, thus giving the young Kiwi a chance to shine.
Rowe starred in the club's under-20s team, racking up 38 tries in 45 Holden Cup appearances, before being added to the full time training squad this season.
Contracted to the end of 2015, Rowe started his rugby league career with the Waitara Bears and then followed Marshall's example by joining the Keebra Park High School - the Gold Coast league nursery that has ties with the Wests Tigers.
Like Marshall, Rowe played for the Australian Schoolboys - in 2011 - but then switched allegiance and scored two tries for the Junior Kiwis against their Kangaroos' counterparts last year.
Meanwhile, former Penrith utility Blake Austin will make his club debut at five-eighth in place of Braith Anasta, who copped a one-game suspension for a shoulder charge on Manly wing David Williams during the Wests Tigers' 34-18 win on Sunday.
WESTS TIGERS: Kurtis Rowe, David Nofoaluma, Tim Simona, Chris Lawrence, Pat Richards, Blake Austin, Luke Brooks, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (captain), Keith Galloway, Liam Fulton, Bodene Thompson, Adam Blair. Interchange: Martin Taupau, Ava Seumanufagai, James Gavet, Sitaleki Akauola, Keith Lulia (18th man)