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Liddle Tiger ready to make big mark in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Wests Tigers may have lost a NSW hooker over the summer but there is huge expectation they now boast a future one in Jacob Liddle.

The promising youngster will provide a glimpse into the club's future when he makes his first NRL start in Friday's clash with Gold Coast.

It will be the first time a Tigers product, Liddle was recruited to the club as the long-term replacement to Robbie Farah, will wear the No.9 since last year's messy divorce with the club's former captain.

In his two years in the under-20s at Concord, Liddle soaked up all he could from Farah and veteran teammate Matt Ballin.

"I spent a couple of years learning off Robbie," Liddle told AAP.

"He gave me a few tips here and there even though he had a lot of stuff going on.

"Both he and Matty have all those years experience, so anything I can get off them is good for my game.

"I'm just learning, so it was massive having those two big-name hookers there."

Liddle identified Cameron Smith as the rake he spends the most video on but it was a former Kangaroos hooker that spiked his development.

The 20-year-old spent some time under Blues legend Danny Buderus at a pathways camp and believes that has been crucial to his emergence.

"I always take tips from guys like Cameron, you watch them and you know he likes to catch and wrestle, and can work players well with the ball," Liddle said.

"But Danny gave me huge confidence after a training camp earlier this year.

"We ran through some hooks and he gave me plenty of tips.

"I still get them from him. He's been great for me."

Central Coast junior Liddle has only played 11 top-grade games since his debut last year, but it was enough for coach Ivan Cleary to extend his contract earlier this month.

Already signed on until the end of 2018, Cleary saw fit to give Liddle an extra year on his deal.

"It's massive to know he wanted to sign me on for another year, it's always a good sign," Liddle said.

"He's given me the confidence to play my own footy."

The last-placed Tigers are likely to have skipper Aaron Woods back up from State of Origin II, however, James Tedesco is in doubt after suffering concussion.

The Titans expect to have their three-man Origin contingent on deck, including Jarryd Hayne, who nailed the game-winning field goal against the Tigers in Campbelltown last year.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Titans are currently on a three-game win streak against the Tigers and are looking to make it four wins in a row against the Tigers for first time in club history.

* Three of their four fixtures in Campbelltown have been decided by two points or less.

* The Tigers have lost six-straight matches and are looking to avoid losing seven in a row for just the third time in club history and first since 2013.

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