The Wests Tigers have lost back-rower Shawn Blore to concussion for Sunday's clash with the Newcastle Knights, resulting in the club handing a Balmain junior his NRL debut.

Still without John Bateman as he continues to acclimatise, Blore's exclusion sees former outside back Asu Kepaoa promoted to the starting right edge, and elevating 19-year-old rookie Brandon Tumeth onto the bench.

The first local junior to debut since Alex Seyfarth early in the 2020 season, the back-rower is thrilled not just to debut for the Wests Tigers, but to do so at Leichhardt Oval.

“This is where it all started for me, playing all my junior footy at Leichhardt,” Tumeth told

“To make my debut on the same field that Benji and Robbie (Farah) have played on, two players I idolised as a kid, means so much.“

Tim Sheens is eager to hand out his first NRL debut in over a decade, especially after Tumeth worked his backside off throughout the pre-season.

“Brandon played in last year's victorious NSW U19's team and was subsequently included in our Top 30 squad,” Sheens said.

“It's tremendous to see a young man come through the Wests Tigers pathways program and finally make his NRL debut.

"It's an example to other juniors in our system of what is possible with hard work and patience.

“I'm confident he'll do a great job on Sunday and I wish him well.”

Tumeth will become Wests Tiger #266 as he runs out in the No. 22 jersey, and he'll have quite the task in stopping former Tiger Jackson Hastings in his return to the 'eighth wonder of the world', Leichhardt Oval.