Brooks happy with freedom to run

12 August 2017 22:41:21 GMTPlus11

Luke Brooks feels his combination with Tui Lolohea is paying dividends for Wests Tigers.

The halfback says he's completely over the hamstring problem that has plagued him in recent times, and he's on track to have his best season in terms of metres gained.  

I feel like our combination is growing each week and he's a great player.

Luke Brooks

The 22-year-old is pleased he's got the chance to display his running game, having been given licence by coach Ivan Cleary to take on the line more often and back himself against tiring defences.

The stats show how much more effective he has been this year, not least his career-high 177 metres against Newcastle in Round 17.

While in his first three full seasons in the NRL Brooks averaged 51.8, 58 and 52.1 metres per game, the No.7 is averaging 78 metres per game in 2017.

He says playing on both sides of the field has given him more freedom to run the ball, as has the mid-season arrival of Lolohea from the Warriors.  

"I think when I was younger my strong suit was my running game," said Brooks. "I sort of went away from that over the last few years but now that I'm playing all over the field and not just the left side, that's opened up my running game and helped my game as a whole.

"With the way we're playing now, it's freed me up as a traditional first-receiver with Tui floating out the back. That allows me to roam on both sides of the field and lets me get my hands on the ball more than what I have been when I'm stuck on the left.

"I feel like our combination is growing each week and he's a great player. He's really starting to take the line on which shows he's more comfortable in his surroundings, and when he does that, he's very damaging."

Wests Tigers will need to come up with a strong finish to avoid being left with the wooden spoon.

Newcastle's victory over the Eels allowed the Knights to catch the joint-venture club on the ladder.

Wests Tigers are 19/10 to beat the Sea Eagles, who are 11/25.

The Tigers are 93/100 conceding a 6.5-points start.

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