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NRL Tigers can cope without Farah: Sheens

17:58 Sun Mar 25 2012

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens will name an extra hooker on his bench for Monday's NRL clash with Canberra, to cope with the loss of suspended skipper Robbie Farah.

Farah was handed a two-game ban after pleading guilty to a grade two dangerous tackle charge for his challenge on St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hornby last week.

It will be the first time in two seasons the Tigers have gone into a game without their captain.

Sheens has named Liam Fulton as hooker for the visit of the Raiders, he said he's likely to include a specialist hooker on the bench, which could see young rake Pat Politoni make his debut.

"Robbie is a unique player and we play a lot of football around him," Sheens said

"Liam not being a specialist hooker, he's a little bit like Dean Young he's a utility player.

"He's played some hooker for us and we'll use a specialist hooker at some stage of the game."

The Tigers welcome back Gareth Ellis, who missed the defeat to the Dragons last Friday due to a badly corked thigh, and Sheens has been grateful for the longer turnaround.

The Raiders have injury issues of their own with star fullback Josh Dugan out with a shoulder injury and workaholic back-rower Shaun Fensom sidelined with a torn biceps muscle and utility forward Trevor Thurling with a knee injury.

Despite the losses, Sheens is still expecting a difficult evening and warned his players they must improve their defence after Dragons front-rowers Trent Merrin and Michael Weyman ran riot against the Tigers' young props Aaron Woods and Matt Groat.

"We've got to stand up in the middle," he said.

"Last week we were pretty poor there. A lot of the pressure put on our defence was by our own offence mistakes and a 9-3 penalty count, we've got a bit of work to do in that area.

"We've challenged the forwards this week to stand up and I'm confident they will."