NRL 2022: Tim Sheens slams claims Luke Brooks has been dropped to NSW Cup

Wests Tigers head of football Tim Sheens has hit back at claims Luke Brooks face being axed for the club’s next game.

Wests Tigers head of football Tim Sheens has rejected speculation that Luke Brooks faces being axed for the club’s next game.

Brooks’ short-term future is under scrutiny amid suggestions he would be dropped for the club’s next game against the Warriors in Auckland on July 3.

Talk around Brooks’ performances heightened after Wests Tigers’ 36-12 loss to Canterbury last weekend.

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“He has definitely not been dropped,” Sheens said. “How can he be dropped when we haven’t picked a team?

“I’ve spoken to ‘Noddy’ (interim coach Brett Kimmorley) and I’m telling you now, the kid hasn’t been dropped.

Luke Brooks is under pressure to retain his spot in the halves at Wests Tigers. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Luke Brooks is under pressure to retain his spot in the halves at Wests Tigers. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“Discussions have been around quite a number of players who didn’t play well. Nothing will happen until selection next Tuesday, until after Luke gets through training this week and with what happens over the weekend (the representative round).

“It’s up to ‘Noddy’ to make the decisions on what the side looks like but all I’m saying at the moment is that Luke hasn’t been dropped. If he’s dropped, or not dropped, that Noddy’s call but no decision has been made on who is playing and who isn’t playing.”

Brooks continues to attract criticism that the club claims is deeply unfair.

“He’s a big boy – he will take it,” Sheens said.

Sheens revealed prop Alex Twal would visit a specialist later this season but was bracing for a long off-field rehabilitation.

Twal was badly concussed early in the match against Canterbury on Sunday and had to be taken from the field by a medicab.

Alex Twal is facing a long stint on the sidelines after anothre concussion. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Alex Twal is facing a long stint on the sidelines after anothre concussion. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

The club wouldn’t predict Twal’s length of absence but some believe it could be up to 12 weeks given he has been concussed previously this year.

“He’s had a number (of concussions this year) and it was a bad one,” Sheens said. “He was completely out. The specialist is going to talk to him later on this week and then we will know. The main thing is his health.”

Sheens denied talk that Parramatta forward Nathan Brown would shift to Concord immediately after being told he was free to leave by the Eels.

Parramatta has offered Brown to rival clubs for the rest of this year and next season.

“He has been offered around but we won’t do anything until we have a coach,” Sheens said. “We haven’t moved on anyone until we sort out who our leader will be.”

Hooked half’s boost, Latrell locked in for return

-David Riccio

Rookie South Sydney halfback Lachlan Ilias is safe from reserve grade, despite being hooked in the first half of his team’s heavy loss to St George Illawarra.

News Corp has learned Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou is steadfast in supporting the 22-year-old No.7 and will opt against dropping him to the NSW Cup.

Ilias will line up for the Rabbitohs against Parramatta in Round 16 after the rep round.

The head coach’s decision to retain Ilias speaks to the club’s desire to extend the former rugby union schoolboy long-term.

With the Rabbitohs down 32-0 in the 28th minute, Ilias was controversially taken off the field by Demetriou. Demetriou’s decision to take his playmaker out of the game — in his 15th NRL game — polarised fans and the rugby league community.

Lachlan Ilias was hooked in the first half of their embarrassing loss to the Dragons. Picture: NRL Images
Lachlan Ilias was hooked in the first half of their embarrassing loss to the Dragons. Picture: NRL Images

The Rabbitohs coach has since spoken with Ilias about his game and the learnings he wants the rising star to take from his two missed tackles, conceded penalty and dropped ball from a kick-off.

“I don’t think he is the first bloke who has had a bad day at the office,” Demetriou said in his post-match press conference. “He wasn’t on his own. He has got great resilience. He has got a good temperament. He will learn from it no doubt.”

Ilias will increase his preparation for the Rabbitohs clash with the Eels at training on Wednesday, alongside superstar Latrell Mitchell, who will make his long-awaited return against Parramatta.

In a major boost for the seventh-placed Bunnies, Mitchell will play his first game for the club in almost three months at Accor Stadium next weekend.

Mitchell is back in full-training with the team following an 11-week recovery from radical hamstring and knee treatment in the US, with his return to the field then delayed due to a Covid setback.

Latrell Mitchell, left, will return for Souths against the Eels in Round 16. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Latrell Mitchell, left, will return for Souths against the Eels in Round 16. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Fit and firing, News Corp can reveal Mitchell will start at fullback against Parra in a return to the NRL that every Rabbitohs fan is hoping will ignite their charge to the finals.

The outstanding ball-runner’s return is also a major boost for NSW, particularly if they can take the series to a decider.

Mitchell would only need to prove his fitness against the Eels and then a clash with Newcastle the following week to be considered for selection in Origin III.

The former Dally M Centre of the Year’s influence on the Rabbitohs is undeniable with his presence also a major plus for five-eighth Cody Walker, who has been hampered in attack without Mitchell on the field.

Originally published as NRL 2022: Tim Sheens slams claims Luke Brooks has been dropped to NSW Cup

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