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Tigers wary ahead of NRL Nines

If any coach can be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive ahead of this weekend's NRL Auckland Nines it's Wests Tigers mentor Mick Potter.
Tigers wary ahead of NRL Nines
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Feb 10 AAP - If any coach can be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive ahead of this weekend's NRL Auckland Nines it's Wests Tigers mentor Mick Potter.

After a horror run with injuries in 2013, Potter has already lost two key players for extended periods so far this season.

Tim Moltzen fractured his kneecap at training in December, with a mid-year return the best case scenario, while Dene Halatau is out for at least four months after suffering an ankle injury in the Tigers' 32-8 trial win over Penrith at Camden on Saturday.

Young winger David Nofoaluma has been the first casualty of the Nines when he was pulled out of the Tigers squad for the Eden Park event with a hamstring injury.

While the Tigers season started promisingly at Camden, Potter, the former St George fullback, whose contract with the Tigers is up at the season's end, is wary the Nines may stall any momentum.

When asked if he was hoping to build on the effort against the Panthers, Potter replied: "Unfortunately we have this thing called the Nines, so we are going to focus on that.

"I think it could be a good concept, a fantastic spectacle for the fans and a really good event, but it just interrupts the other part of the competition which is 13-a-side.

"I'm hopeful that the Nines is going to be very good and everyone enjoys it, it is just time consuming," Potter said.

The Tigers play a second and final trial against Cronulla next weekend before their season opener on March 9 against the Dragons.

Last season the joint venture had Moltzen, Braith Anasta, Chris Lawrence, Keith Galloway, Lote Tuqiri and Blake Ayshford sidelined for extended periods - and Potter is hopeful his luck will change in 2014.

"You never can tell with injuries, it is one of those things you keep rowing through the weeks and you hope you minimise your injuries," he said.

"We were a bit unfortunate last year but we will cop it on the chin whatever comes our way."




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