Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks and winger Pat Richards have been ruled out of the side’s clash with North Queensland.

The Wests Tigers’ on-field problems have grown as big as their off-field issues with Luke Brooks and Pat Richards ruled out of their clash with North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday.

Halfback Brooks (shoulder) and winger Richards (hamstring) are both late scratchings after earlier in the week being named to take on the Cowboys.

The loss of Brooks and Richards means the side is missing nearly all of their regular starting backline.

There was some good news from the Tigers on Friday with coach Mick Potter expecting centre Chris Lawrence to return from an ankle injury.

Potter also confirmed that Curtis Sironen would move from the back-row into the halves alongside Blake Austin, while Kurtis Rowe is expected to slot in on the wing.

“It’s a little bit different to what we had at the start of the year,” Potter said.

“What that throws up is opportunities for some young guys and we need to mix it up just a little bit. The guys that will be out there on Saturday night will be up for the job.”

Brooks and Richards join backline teammates Braith Anasta (biceps), James Tedesco (knee) and David Nofoaluma (knee) in the injury ward.