SEA Eagles coach Trent Barrett has revamped to pack to give strike forward Marty Taupau the freedom to make a bigger impact when takes on his former club the Wests Tigers on Monday night at Leichhardt Oval.
Following the first round 28-6 loss to the Bulldogs, Barrett has moved prop Jake Trbojevic to lock, promoted Josh Starling into the frontrow and moved the explosive Taupau to the edge,
“We play with three ‘middles’ so I just think it gives us an extra bigger body, moving Marty to an edge,” Barrett said.
“It gives us four big blokes to try and get us to a start which we didn’t get last week.”
He said Trbojevic’s role will not really change with his switch.
Barrett revealed another reason for the changes was that Taupau had to make 40 tackles against the Bulldogs.
Martin Taupau tackled by Bulldog Sam Kasiano last Friday nigh. Picture: Mark Evans
“I don’t want to nullify the impact that he has, and hopefully he won’t have quite as much work to do on an edge,” he said.
“And when he does get the ball it will have an impact- they are my thoughts behind it.”
Barrett didn’t want to make a big deal about Taupau’s return to Leichhardt for the first time on Monday.
“He’s got some things to work on from last week that he wouldn’t be happy with- and we all have,” the coach said.
“We’ve all had to have a real good hard think about what went wrong last week and how we can fix it- and that is myself included- so I don’t want to put any undue pressure on Marty.
“He just needs to carry the ball strongly and do all those little things right.”
He said Taupau was a bit of a crowd favourite at Leichhardt and was sure he will get some stick, but that won’t worry him.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett and his assistant John Cartwright. Picture: Adam Yip.
Barrett said Starling and new interchange prop Brenton Lawrence had earned their spots after really good games in the NSW Cup side last week.
“We are going to have to keep picking the team on form and it may take a little while to get all those combinations right but I am really happy with the pack we have this week,” he said.
Barrett said fullback Brett Stewart, who has hamstring injury, will not be a late inclusion and is not expected back for a couple of weeks.
“He still won’t be right,” Barrett said. “He’s as frustrated as anyone and he is important to the side.
“But I thought Tom Trbojevic did a terrific job last week, he tried really hard in difficult circumstances and he was coming off limited preparation as well.”
Barrett was surprised by reports yesterday that backrower Tom Symonds was being chased by rival clubs for this season.
“There is no situation with Tom Symonds, he’s not going anywhere, he is important to us,” he said.