Ballin in line to replace sidelined Farah

Off-season buy Matt Ballin is in line to make his Wests Tigers debut with starting hooker Robbie Farah likely to be ruled out of Saturday’s NRL game against Newcastle.

Farah failed to finish Sunday’s heavy loss to Canterbury after coming off with concussion, and is all but certain to be sidelined for a week.

However there is no danger of NSW vice-captain missing the Origin series-opener against Queensland, and will be named by Blues coach Laurie Daley on Monday.

Wests Tigers co-captain Dene Halatau said he is ready to share the hooking duties with Ballin, who came through unscathed in his first game back from an ACL reconstruction in the NSW Cup last week.

“Definitely, Matt’d be ready,” Halatau said on Tuesday.

“He came back to play last week, he’s been working really hard, come to the club with the knee injury and he’s been really professional and diligent in what he’s done to get back on the field.”

The 14th-placed Tigers will host the last-placed Knights, who were embarrassed 62-0 against a hot Cronulla unit on Sunday and have now won just one game all season.

The Tigers can relate to the Knights’ troubles, having also been spanked 60-6 by Canberra just two rounds ago before bouncing back with a strong win over South Sydney.

“The thing with games like that is you’re really keen to turn things around and we did that when we lost down in Canberra – we turned up the following week and we beat Souths,” Halatau said.

“I wouldn’t say that we played all over them, but we were very competent and we played hard.

“That’s what they’re going to do.

“They beat us earlier in the year. We gave them their first win of the season. That’s going to be fresh in their minds, along with the taste of getting smashed.”

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