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Marika Koroibete's return to Wests Tigers training may be delayed by visa bungle

Marika Koroibete is hoping to put his injury problems behind him in 2014.

Marika Koroibete is hoping to put his injury problems behind him in 2014. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

An incomplete visa form has led to complications for Wests Tigers flyer Marika Koroibete and could delay his return to Australia before pre-season training on Monday.

Fairfax Media understands a paperwork bungle held up Koroibete in England as he tried to leave the country following the recent World Cup, where he played for Fiji. He has since returned to Fiji and is expected to report for Tigers training at Concord Oval when pre-season training resumes on Monday.

The club sponsors Koroibete's visa and Tigers officials are confident the visa is a mere formality, but only once paperwork is lodged. It is unknown if that has happened. Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer said he was confident Koroibete would return on Monday once his leave ended.

''Our expectation is that Marika will be back with the squad on January 6,'' Mayer said. ''We understand that he has had some issues in regards to getting his visa approved.

''We've certainly assisted where and when possible and look forward to welcoming him back along with the full squad on January 6.''

The 21-year-old has been a revelation on the Tigers flank since scoring four tries in his second top-grade game in 2012. Injuries plagued his second season, highlighted by a dislocated elbow and a fractured cheekbone, which restricted him to nine games.

Koroibete had been granted an extended leave from pre-season training after featuring for Fiji in their semi-final loss to Australia. The Tigers' other World Cup players, including recruits Pat Richards and Keith Lulia, as well as internationals James Tedesco and Joel Luani, returned to training before Christmas.

Skipper Robbie Farah is not required back at training until the middle of January, having featured in Australia's opening three pool games before losing his bench spot to Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.

The bulk of NRL teams return to pre-season training on Monday. Newcastle and Brisbane returned last Friday.

After finishing the 2013 season second from bottom, the Tigers hope a younger generation of players are able to turn things around. Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses and Curtis Sironen will carry added responsibility following the departure of Benji Marshall to Super Rugby franchise the Blues.

Recruits Martin Taupau, Cory Paterson and Blake Austin will push for time in the top grade, while the return of Dene Halatau will provide much-needed experience.

Lote Tuqiri, Joel Reddy, Blake Ayshford and Eddy Pettybourne joined Marshall in leaving the club at the end of last year. The Tigers meet St George Illawarra in round one of the NRL season.

6 comments so far

  • This situation simply highlights the poor administration @ the Wests Tigers......
    No wonder they are languishing at the rear with the NRL also rans.
    Until the Tigers get their front office right they will continue to perform poorly..

    I don't envy the huge task confronting coach Potter....he must be under huge pressure to perform........unless their are plenty of wins.....the certainty of a "tap on the shoulder' awaits.

    Tin Legs
    Date and time
    January 04, 2014, 9:54PM
    • I can see another disaster year at the tigers i don't know why they resigned robbie farrah for so long he's too slow yes he's tough but so what he's got no pace if he was that good the tigers wouldn't have been second last letting go of benji was a huge mistake

      Date and time
      January 05, 2014, 8:35AM
      • Bob, do you actually watch the games? Farah was probably the tiger's best in 2013 and NSW's best in the state of origin whilst Benji was almost the Tiger's worst and lucky to hold onto his spot.

        Date and time
        January 06, 2014, 9:07AM
      • If hypothetically Farah went on the open market right now there'd be a queue a mile long of clubs trying to sign him up! Slow, don't think so!

        Date and time
        January 06, 2014, 6:27PM
    • Bob tin legs you guys are hopeless. Yes the front office is a worry, and bingie going is a pity. You must not have seen young Brooks go around he is all class and their are several others coming through. I think we will have a great season. We will be in the top 5 for sure and as for ROBBIE he is the key to everything why do you think they have him in state of origin, dryout for a couple of days and try again I sure you can do better next time or perhaps you are Manly supporters.

      Date and time
      January 06, 2014, 8:05AM
      • Mayer is one of the better CEO's in the NRL and the WT Board is presently being reconstituted with NRL assistance to get rid of the sectarian Magpies v Tigers nonsense that's been holding the club back for so long plus we have a great blend of outstanding young guys like Brooks, Moses, Sironen, Simona, Tedesco and Woods and experienced pros like Halatau, Richards, Galloway and Farah. We'll go ok this year and even better again in 2015

        Date and time
        January 06, 2014, 6:25PM

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