NRL club given the green light to look to the future.
Benji Marshall’s time in the NRL could be coming to a close sooner than first thought with the Wests Tigers given permission to debut young gun Luke Brooks.
The Tigers were given second-tier salary cap dispensation by the NRL, paving the way for Brooks and fellow rising star Nathan Brown to make their first-grade debuts this weekend.
Permission for Brooks and Brown will be given on a weekly basis for the rest of the NRL regular season.
However, Brooks has been seen as the heir apparent for Marshall in the halves for the Tigers, even before his much-publicised move to the Auckland Blues in the Super 15 rugby union competition.
“Wests Tigers have been granted permission from the NRL for exciting youngsters Luke Brooks and Nathan Brown to possibly make their first grade debuts this weekend,” The Tigers said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“The club yesterday wrote to NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert asking for permission to breach the second tier salary cap by allowing the talented pair to play against St George-Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
“The decision as to whether Brooks and Brown will play will be made by coach Mick Potter following the team’s final training session tomorrow.
“The permission granted by Schubert was made under special circumstances given that neither team could make the NRL finals series.
“This was a one-off application that will be assessed on a weekly basis subject to Wests Tigers upcoming matches in the final few rounds of the Telstra Premiership and whether the opposition teams can make the finals.
“The decision by Schubert to grant permission was based upon it being in the best interests of the game as a whole.”