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Canterbury Bulldogs run down Wests TigersAs it happened: Bulldogs v TigersEXCLUSIVE: Eels star allegedly given cash in car park
Nanjing Night Net

The Wests Tigers were forced to apply to the NRL for a salary cap exemption to hand a first grade debut to teenage hooker Jacob Liddle, who is unlikely to feature in the top squad for the rest of the season.

The Tigers’ hooking stocks have been the subject of much debate this season, but coach Jason Taylor revealed his club was forced to apply to League Central for a second tier exemption given Robbie Farah was on State of Origin duties to compound the injuries to Matt Ballin and Manaia Cherrington.

Liddle, 19, put the Tigers ahead early in the second half with an opportunistic try before the Bulldogs wore down the top eight fringe dwellers for a 32-22 win at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Taylor conceded Liddle was unlikely to feature in the top grade again this season in a scenario reminiscent of the Luke Brooks wrangle in late 2013.

“For salary cap reasons he probably won’t play any more part,” Taylor said. “That’s disappointing. We can’t do anything about it and that’s how it works.”

The NRL only agreed to the Tigers’ application given their hooking stocks were so depleted for the pivotal clash against the Bulldogs. Cherrington will be available for the Tigers’ clash against the Dragons after the bye.

Taylor spoke at length in the Tigers’ dressing room to the gathering of about 20 family and friends who had come to watch Liddle, a Wyong junior, make his NRL bow.

The mad surfer said he had no idea about the salary cap jigsaw he had been caught up in, but said it was worthwhile after embracing his tearful mum Kellie over the ANZ Stadium fence at full-time.

“This has been a great opportunity and I’ll just keep developing as a player and hopefully get a run next season,” Liddle said. “We’ll just see how we go.

“It was an unbelievable experience. I didn’t know what to expect to come into it and it would have been good to come away with the win on debut, but you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Liddle made making his NRL debut over playing for the NSW’s under-20s side in the annual State of Origin clash on Wednesday night.

Taylor said Liddle, who is under contract at the Tigers until the end of 2018, didn’t put a foot wrong on debut.

“He didn’t look out of place for a second against a team with those big guys and his defence was superb,” Taylor said. “He did a really solid job. Early in the week we knew that was the way we were going to go.”

The Tigers’ missing State of Origin trio of skipper Aaron Woods, James Tedesco and Farah might have added greater composure late in the game, but the Bulldogs always looked the more likely.

Canterbury coach Des Hasler said his side would have to improve to trouble premiers North Queensland, who he regards as the competition favourites, when they return from the bye before heading to Townsville.

“I think we might have only dropped one game in the Origin period and it’s a testament to the way this side has handled itself during a difficult period,” Hasler said.

“There was a fair bit of adversity we had to overcome, but we were patient and when we got our opportunities we capitalised on them. We need to play better and we can play better, particularly in a fortnight’s time when we play the favourites in Townsville.”

Brett Morris bagged a double to make it a stunning seven tries in only three matches back from injury as the Bulldogs stretched their winning streak to four to cement a place in the top four.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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