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2 days ago
Wests Tigers won't rush to secure Mathew Head beyond this season as they continue monitoring the injury-prone halfback's return to the NRL.
Head's tentative comeback to top flight rugby league continues on Saturday night when he plays his fourth straight NRL match against Brisbane at ANZ Stadium.
The former St George Illawarra star has shown glimpses of his best since taking over the playmaking role against Canberra in round four, but three years of knee troubles have the Tigers wary of making a long-term commitment just yet.
"We're taking things easy at the moment, he's got a long way to go and he knows that himself," Tigers recruitment manager Warren McDonnell said.
"We're only up to round eight this week so we're going to take a bit more time. Mat knows what Tim wants him to do so we're not rushing into it and he's fine with that."
Head was talked up as a future representative player before injury struck midway through the 2005 season.
He made several failed comebacks with the Dragons before they eventually lost patience with the diminutive playmaker, releasing him to take up an offer with Hull in the Super League before the Tigers threw him a 12-month lifeline.
While he still looks well short of his pre-injury best, Head's worth could rise over the coming weeks if his comeback stays on track. And McDonnell said the club would be happy to increase any offer if they believed Head's form warranted it.
"He's got to play better, if he does and he gets back to his old form we're happy to pay the money," McDonnell said.
"But we're not rushing in stupidly at the moment.
"We've got a good relationship with him and his manager and he knows we gave him a chance this year and he knows what he has to do to stay here."
Tigers skipper Brett Hodgson said the prospect of having a fit and firing combination of Head, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah controlling the ruck would be enough to have every Tigers fan salivating.
"We've got the potential that if we can stay fit and get our key players on the park, while you don't know what's at the end of the tunnel there's a bit of light there," Hodgson said.
"If we're all there it definitely brings a few different dimensions to our attacking ability."