Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor has played down Luke Brooks’s chances of a return in Saturday’s NRL clash against Gold Coast despite joining the captain’s run.
Brooks was initially expected to miss up to five weeks after hurting his knee against Parramatta a fortnight ago, but trained with the team for the first time since on Friday.
“Brooksy’s going well. He’s on track to play next week, if not this week. But he’s a very, very late chance of playing this week,” Taylor said on Friday.
Asked if the No.7 would return, Taylor said: “I don’t think so. But as usual, we’ll let you know that the team is an hour before kick-off.”
Brooks’s return would be a massive boost for the ninth-placed Tigers ahead of their crucial encounter against the Jarryd Hayne-led Titans.
The Tigers sit behind seventh-placed Penrith on percentages, and can end Gold Coast’s ambitions of a spot in the finals by claiming what would be their fourth straight win.
Hayne’s storied return to rugby league has again dominated the build-up to the clash, with the code-hopping star set to play in what will be his first NRL game in his home town of Campbelltown.
He has also been named to play five-eighth for the first time since 2011.
Taylor, who handed Hayne his NRL debut when he was in charge of Parramatta in 2006, said the former San Francisco 49er always had the ability to play in the frontline.
“His running game is his number one area, but the fact that he can pass the way he can, play with some subtleties, and kick the ball, there’s no reason why he can’t play five-eighth,” he said.
“I’m not their coach, but I think it’s the right decision for them … to slot him into a position where they’ve got an injury is a smart play.”