Rugby League


Tiny bub 'best thing that ever happened' to giant Tilse

Yesterday he held his 3.6-kilogram, 49-centimetre newborn daughter Ila in the palm of his hand, but this Saturday Raiders giant Dane Tilse will be asked to add extra muscle to Canberra's forward pack in a late finals push.

Tilse is the tallest player in the NRL at 200cm and the towering prop will return to training with the Raiders today, having been a late withdrawal from Canberra's season-saving win against the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.

Raiders coach David Furner was awoken by Tilse at 4.30am on the day of the game, Tilse having to rush back to Canberra to support wife Katie for the birth of their first child.

And Furner was only too happy to rush Tilse back into his squad for Saturday's match against the Roosters at Canberra Stadium.

''I thought in that first 20 minutes [against the Panthers] we got outmuscled on the ground,'' Furner said. ''The previous week against the Broncos Tilsey was outstanding … especially after the good news with the new baby girl he'd have his chest out and looking for a big game. Him being fresh is only going to help our forward pack.''

A tired but proud Tilse saw the birth of his daughter at 6.20pm on Monday. He also got to watch the Raiders play on Sunday after doctors allowed him to return home for a few hours as the birth was still only in the early stages.


''It was a bit of a funny feeling watching the game at home. I'm really happy that the boys played reasonably well and got the win more importantly,'' Tilse said.

''[The birth] took a bit longer than we thought, but I was happy to be back to support Katie.

''It's a spin-out, it's the biggest thing that's ever happened in my life. Being on a bit of a high, it'll be good to get back to training with the boys, I'm sure I'll be buzzing.''

Although Tilse was the only official addition named in an 18-man squad yesterday, Furner has not ruled out late changes to the team to face the Roosters.

Furner dismissed speculation that prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs may be fit to return from a hamstring injury, saying he had run at only 70 per cent in a testing session on Monday.

But Furner admitted hooker Glen Buttriss was potentially in line for a recall. Buttriss hasn't played NRL since injuring his sternum in round eight, but has now had a couple of weeks playing with Mounties in the NSW Cup.

''He's in contention,'' Furner said of Buttriss. ''There are a couple of guys at this end of the season that are a little bit battered and bruised. I probably won't be able to finalise the side until the captain's run [on Friday].''

Furner admitted he had taken ''a little bit of a peep'' at Canberra's run home, but denied Canberra would be distracted by thoughts of making the finals.

''[The Roosters] are going to throw more at us than Penrith did so we need to be more aggressive, especially in defence,'' Furner said.

''We have to win our remaining three games … There could be a case there where you win all your three games and don't get in [the finals]. You've only got to be in control of your own destiny and that's what we've got to focus on.''