Random Tigers articles from the media

Discussion in 'Wests Tigers' started by Ron's_Mate, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. OldPanther

    OldPanther First Grade

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    Tigers fans must love Ivan:

     
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  2. sensesmaybenumbed

    sensesmaybenumbed Moderator Staff Member

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    It's simply indescribable to us after the last 6 or 7 years, to have a strong coach and a unified board and players. I really have hopes for this year in terms of making the semis.
     
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  3. Tiger05

    Tiger05 Bench

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    I reckon making the semis will be tough but it's so good to have a coach that you can have some confidence in.

    I think we can turn this club into a quality place over the next 5 years.
     
  4. Vic Mackey

    Vic Mackey Coach

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    When Josh Reynolds was asked about it he said ‘Bring it On’
     
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  5. Tiger Ted

    Tiger Ted Juniors

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    To bad his hamstrings don’t share the same enthusiasm !
     
  6. Tiger Ted

    Tiger Ted Juniors

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    As the deluded dickhead Peponis said in late March ‘17 “we’re not a Wests Tigers”
    Thank goodness for that coz we have nothing in common with that treacherous unethical rabble at Belmore.A club that dumps there greatest ever player & nice guy Turvey from their leagues club board & replaces him with a Neville nobody scumbag.A club that is a serial salary cap rorter.A club that displays zero gratitude to a revered & principled coach like Hasler who bought them back from the brink of missing 8 & into a GF in his 1st yr as coach.Karma certainly has much credence !
     
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  7. Tigerm

    Tigerm Juniors

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    NRL 2018: Wests Tigers star Josh Reynolds unsure of where he’ll play once he returns from injury
    Wests Tigers

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    Wests Tigers star Josh Reynolds doesn’t know where he’ll play when he returns. Picture: Toby ZernaSource: News Corp Australia
    WESTS Tigers recruit Josh Reynolds admits he’s at a loss as to where he’ll play when he returns from a hamstring injury.

    While Reynolds has been sidelined, the Tigers have started the 2018 season in stellar fashion, knocking over the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne in their opening two games.

    Returning favourite son Benji Marshall has been firing in the halves alongside Luke Brooks, so the questions remains as to where Reynolds will fit in.

    The former Canterbury star is a week-to-week proposition due to his injury, and while he wishes he was out on the playing field, he told NRL 360 he couldn’t be happier for his new teammates.


    “I actually rang (Intrust Super Premiership coach) Brett Hodgson today to see how I was going to fair in the ISP,” Reynolds joked.

    “But he gave me nothing because they’re 2-0 as well.”

    Reynolds said he didn’t deserve to slot straight back into the first grade side and that he’d have to earn his place, even it’s a bench spot.


    “I really don’t know, I couldn’t tell you,” he said when asked where he’d play upon return.

    “For me as a person looking from the outside in, the boys are going so well.

    “I don’t expect to just come straight back in anywhere.

    “Even the No.14, I don’t deserve that.

    “I’ve got to earn my stripes again.

    “I’m not Johnathan Thurston, I’m not Cameron Smith, so I know I’ve got to earn my stripes as much as I can and I’m going to do that.”

    Reynolds said he was thrilled with how the side was playing.

    “I can honestly tell you from the bottom of my heart, this is being brutally honest, the way the boys are going now, I absolutely love it,” he said.

    “You should’ve seen me on the weekend in Melbourne.

    “I felt like I was a fan again. Sitting on the sideline, I was cheering them home.

    “Honestly, I want to be in that team, don’t get me wrong, but I love the way we’re going at the moment.”

    At spot at hooker remains an option for Reynolds, and former NRL player Michael Ennis even suggested on Monday that Brooks should move there to allow the former NSW Origin star to partner Marshall.

    “It’s different for Brooksy, he’s never done it before,” Reynolds said of Ennis’s call.

    “But then again, I’ve got to get back in the team somehow.

    “I’ve got to do whatever I’ve got to do.

    “If Brooksy throws his hand up, he can go in there, I’m happy with that.”
     
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  8. BrotherJim05

    BrotherJim05 Juniors

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    Reynolds off the bench, either at hooker or even to cover halves/backs if there is injury
     
  9. Tiger05

    Tiger05 Bench

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    I don't rate Reynolds at the moment. He hasn't played as good as Brooks or Marshall in the trials. Geez though his attitude is great. I hope he fires for us at some point.
     
  10. super_coach

    super_coach Bench

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    He will be handy when the grind kicks in and times get harder
     
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  11. Tiger Ted

    Tiger Ted Juniors

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    Additionally with Gamble looking like he may b the real deal it’s so damn good to have depth in the halves.

    If Liddle can hit his straps & realise his potential this season we will b well placed for a shot at qualifying for finals.

    IC has some unprecedented selection headaches & Concord ensuing when everyone is available.
     
  12. Vozzy

    Vozzy Juniors

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    And also I watched "from this day forward" which was pretty good in terms of seeing them train hard especially the sand dunes. That sand dune session and seeing their defence the last 2 weeks shows me it was no fluke they got mentally tough in the off season which is great and when an error or when a 50/50 call is made against them such as; a 40/20, dropped ball in own half, a no try, sin bin or opposition catching the kick off they are defending the error now. Last year they would let in a try 90% of the time if these things happen.

    Reynolds and Co arnt big headed they are willing to earn their spot back which shows the culture. Same with Nofo he busted his arse against the storm cos he knows now a good game in attack won't mean anything if his defence isn't up to scratch.
     
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  13. Trollhammaren

    Trollhammaren Juniors

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    Just like the Tigers of 2005? Hodgson says current crop is like 2004

    It would be outrageously premature to compare, after just two rounds, the current Wests Tigers team to the one that took the joint-venture outfit to its first and only premiership back in 2005.
    But if there is a parallel to be drawn then it is appropriate that it is done so by Brett Hodgson, a star from those glory days who is back at the club as part of coach Ivan Cleary’s brains trust.
    “It does remind me of ‘04 when Tim Sheens brought in a whole host of new players to the club,” Hodgson told Fairfax Media.

    “We didn’t have the success that we obviously did in ‘05, but it was a bit of a changing of the culture at that stage as well.
    “I definitely see similarities in that. In terms of end result, we’re too far away to judge that obviously.”

    Hodgson is back at the club, as an assistant to Cleary and also the coach of the Magpies NSW Cup side. His presence is already being felt. Both of those teams are undefeated. The goalkicking work he has done with Tui Lolohea has already paid dividends, as evidenced by the fullback’s match-winning sideline conversion against the Roosters. Perhaps most importantly, ‘Hodgo’ - alongside fellow prodigal sons Benji Marshall and veteran trainer Ronnie Palmer - provides a vital link to the club’s past as it steps into a new era.

    Much like the 2005 Tigers, nobody gives the current mob a chance. Many have written off the early wins against the Roosters and Melbourne as a fluke, a case of getting the premiership heavyweights before they get into gear. However, another big scalp, Brisbane at Campbelltown on Friday night, will prompt the rest of the competition to take notice.
    Regardless, Hodgson couldn’t be happier to return to the fold. The former fullback has resettled back in Campbelltown after a coaching stint in England.
    “I’m loving it,” Hodgson said. “Getting the opportunity to come home, it was never something I was going to let slide. It’s been everything which I wanted it to be, which is brilliant.

    “I definitely see that everyone is happy at the place. It’s really positive that everyone has bought into what Ivan is trying to achieve and we’ve had a bit of success in the first few rounds.”
    The former NSW custodian, even during his playing days, always had a desire to transition into the clipboard ranks. His ultimate ambition is to become an NRL head coach “at some point”, but for now couldn’t be happier learning his trade under Cleary.

    “It’s something I wanted to be part of my future, so now I’ve got the opportunity at the Tigers, it’s amazing,” he said.

    Hodgson made his name as one of the club’s great fullbacks, and returns at a time when there is much conjecture over who should now own the position. The departure of James Tedesco has left a huge hole, which to date has been capably filled by Lolohea and Corey Thompson. Hodgson is well positioned to provide an appraisal of both, particularly given he spent the past two seasons with Thompson at Widnes.

    “There’s no doubt when he’s happy and enjoying his footy, he’s a very dangerous and capable player,” Hodgson said.

    “For him to take his opportunity against Melbourne was very good. The competition they have for that position - or if Corey or Nofa (David Nofoaluma) is on the wing - there’s an element of everyone working hard for each other to get themselves into the team.

    “Corey’s ability to beat a bloke one on one is brilliant. He’s so light on his feet and his balance is exceptional.

    “His energy levels are like an Energiser bunny, he just keeps going. It was epitomised when they had an opportunity and he was at marker against Melbourne, they kicked it back to the posts, he got a hand on it and got to the ball somehow.

    “That’s what Corey does, he’s very gifted in terms of his balance. Winger or fullback, he’s a very capable player.”

    Hodgson can only recognise a handful of familiar faces at Concord. Benji is back, John Skandalis and Paul Whatuira still have roles at the club and Chris Lawrence was just a Tiger cub coming through the grades when Hodgson was playing. Only time will tell if they and the many new recruits will be able to gel as capably as Sheens’ underdogs.

    “Internally, the last thing we’re thinking of is semifinals, but you want to start off as well as you can,” Hodgson said. “I feel what [footy general manager] Kelly Egan, Ivan and [CEO] Justin Pascoe are doing at the club now is heading in that direction. It’s very exciting.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/ju...urrent-crop-is-like-2004-20180322-p4z5qt.html
     
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  14. Ron's_Mate

    Ron's_Mate Bench

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    I thought this article was interesting for the insight into some of the contract negotiations with the three big egos. Go's comment about players who bag their club in the media might apply most to Sharon for his appalling dribbling on that Fox show, but also to the other two as well. There is also stuff I haven't read before about how involved Ivan's wife is in regard to player families and partners' engagement. Anyway, shows how important the coach is.

    PART ONE
    How to change a club in 12 months: Marina Go tells Wests Tigers tale

    Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
    Fri 23 Mar 2018, 01:20 PM

    This is the story of how to change a club in 12 months.
    Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t tap that app with the bird logo to send a not so polite reminder of how the Wests Tigers have won just the two games.
    Yep. They’ve done nothing yet.
    And those at the club will agree with you. It’s why Ivan Cleary declined the opportunity when asked to contribute to this story.
    It’s why chief executive Justin Pascoe was happy to leave it to maligned chairwoman Marina Go to provide an insight into all the key decisions that have been made, beginning with the sacking of Jason Taylor one year and five days ago.
    This is far more than the transformation story of a brittle football team.
    The Tigers were the laughing stock of the Telstra Premiership. They were a rabble, apparently. An organisation with no idea about football, according to most.
    How could they sack the coach just three rounds into a season? What sort of club were they running?
    "We couldn’t afford, as a club, to have another three years of a coach say ‘if only I had this player or this player or didn’t have this player’,” Go explained as she sipped a long black at a Surry Hills café on Tuesday morning.
    The Wests Tigers needed a coach that would rebuild the club from the ground up. At the time, the best in the business at doing so was filling his days juggling media commitments, mentoring his eldest son and advising NRL officials on how to improve the game.
    But the Tigers knew, Cleary wouldn’t be doing so for much longer. There were rumblings around Paul McGregor’s future at the St George Illawarra Dragons, Michael Maguire was under pressure to retain his position at the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and Des Hasler was walking on egg shells at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
    If they waited, the Tigers knew they could have missed their man.
    Not to mention the increasing external pressure to retain their four best players who were hesitating in committing to the club because of the state of affairs.
    The Tigers went through the proper governance procedures of interviewing other candidates, but it was just prolonging the inevitable. Cleary was always the man they wanted. He was the only candidate to meet with the board. And now we’re starting to see why.
    "Before we gave Ivan the job, I spent three hours with him and he interviewed me as much as I interviewed him," Go said.
    "I wanted to make sure he understood the values and cultures that we wanted. He was a step ahead of that. He was all over it. He had executed it and delivered it at other clubs. He wanted to make sure that our club had unity and the board was going to support and empower the decision making of him and our CEO. We both left that interview feeling like Ivan was meant for the club.
    "Ivan’s a real culture guy. He’s brought in good men. You can see already that our team play for each other. They’re committed to this club and there’s a high-value system, and that’s because of the players he’s brought in. They’ve immediately changed the way some of the existing guys think about the concept of team.
    "In the past we’ve had some players who, if you ask them what their goals are for the year, they’ll talk about their personal goals. We now have a group of people whose goal is team. Every one of those young men now, their No.1 priority is getting this club into the finals. It’s not ‘me, me, me – I want to be the best’. It’s team. That’s Ivan. He’s instilled those values into the team."

    The wheels on the bus
    Cleary may be the one driving the bus, but don’t underestimate the importance of the role his wife Rebecca has played in unifying a once fractured club.
    Some partners and families of the players have long felt a strong disconnection with the club. There was no sense of inclusion. They felt mistreated.
    Rebecca Cleary is responsible for changing that. Together with her husband, the Wests Tigers team is now far more than a 30-man NRL squad.
    Whether it be hosting parties at the Cleary's Leonay home, planning team and family dinners after games, or simply organising a corporate box with a crèche for the kids during matches – this is now a club built on the foundations of strong family values.
    The same characteristics that have led to Nathan Cleary earning so much praise for the way he conducts himself off the field as much as on it.
    "Rebecca is a sensational woman," Go said.
    "Her and Ivan are all in. They are 100 per cent in. The children come to the games. Nathan comes to watch his dad, and his dad goes to watch his son. It’s fantastic. That’s what should happen because ultimately they are father and son first.
    "That’s what I am talking about. These are values as a club we’ve wanted for the last three and a half years. The success of culture change is whether you see it into aspects like that. When I knew that was happening, I thought ‘right, we’re there. We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve’."

    The "big four" brouhaha
    For the record, the Wests Tigers never wanted to lose Aaron Woods, James Tedesco or Mitchell Moses.
    "We absolutely wanted to keep them," Go said.
    "And we did everything we could to keep them."
    It’s hard to blame the players for their reluctance to commit to the club. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but all they knew of the Tigers was what it was.
    Yes, Cleary came in and tried to keep them. But they’d lived through that before. They’d seen coaches come and go.
    Unfortunately, their perception of the club had already been altered prior to Cleary’s arrival.
    The reality is they began to see a brighter future under Cleary. Those things Ivan and Rebecca have now instilled at the Tigers were the very things they wanted throughout their time at the club.
    And perhaps if he’d started after the previous season, things would have been different. But by April last year, it was hard to see the forest for the trees.
    "The minute it became absolutely evident they didn’t want to stay, as soon as players start standing up in front of media and not supporting your club, that’s a values proposition," Go said.
    "You look at that and say ‘do we really want to have those values in our club’. ... Look at Josh Reynolds, the moment he put his toe in our club has been on about our club. He’s always talking up our club. We didn’t get that from those players, and that was before they told us they were leaving. But regardless, we did not remove them, they left."
    Cleary attempted to re-focus the negotiations by pulling Mitchell’s contract off the table, which ultimately led to his departure to the Parramatta Eels mid-season.
    "It was really to disrupt the conversation because we had been saying ‘what else do we have to do, what else do we have to do?’," Go said.
    "It was going nowhere. We were at the point where we were offering them top dollar around town, offering them as much as any other club. So if it wasn’t about the money what else did we have to do? It was becoming really stupid. Ivan’s a new coach coming in and realising he had a window of opportunity because a lot of people were off contract and he had to start making decisions around replacement players.
    "He knew pulling at least one of the contracts would at least change the conversation. But the intention was to never get rid of Mitchell, it was to start having a different conversation to start renegotiating. That ended in him leaving.
    "And to be honest, it’s probably been the best for everyone involved. I think so. One of the ways to get cultural change quickly is to change people. It’s harder to do in rugby league teams than in business, because fans have an emotional attachment to players.
    "It’s really difficult to do that. We saw that with Robbie Farah. That was hard for us – and it was no less difficult with these three players. But you can’t wallow in it, they wanted to go so we moved on."
     
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  15. Ron's_Mate

    Ron's_Mate Bench

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    had to beak this into two posts as the forum software wouldn't let me post it as one, due to being over 10,000 characters.

    PART TWO
    When will Marina Go go?
    Go has been heavily criticised throughout her time as Wests Tigers chairwoman, often ridiculed because of a perceived lack of knowledge when it comes to rugby league.
    But her appointment was never about rugby league.
    "My goal has always been financial sustainability of the football club," she said.
    "That was always my goal. Our chief executive Justin Pascoe has done a tremendous job and we can see that now. We’ll break even this year, even if we miss the eight, if we achieve what we have set out to achieve. I will have achieved my hopes for the club sometime very soon. Then I’ll look at what happens next.
    "I’m mindful of the fact that, just as I believe you need a different coach for a different time, you need a different chair for a different time. I won’t always be the right chair for this club. I know that. When I know that another chair should step in, I’ll hand the baton over happily."
    There have been calls for her removal from the board since she started. Mocked, ridiculed and hammered from pillar to post for adopting a philosophy that varies to the traditional running of a football club.
    In 2015, after the Tigers had opened the season with back-to-back wins, a story appeared saying Go was one of the 20 worst things in rugby league. It had the potential to make her walk away from it all, because she had vowed to throw in the towel if the role began to affect her youngest child.
    What’s right isn’t always popular, but eventually what’s right becomes popular.
    Marina Go
    "I remember looking at it and the only reason I could think of was ‘what would I know about rugby league?’. I was so shocked because it was probably the first time in my career my capabilities have been questioned. I looked at that and thought ‘oh my god’. I remember saying to my youngest son, when I was first appointed chair, I said to him at some point they are going to write terrible things about me, so I will do this until it affects you. My line in the sand would be if it affected my youngest son. If it did, I would have resigned straight away because it’s not worth that.
    "I think I knew it was OK when the Alan Jones thing happened. My youngest son Lachlan was watching Fox Sports and he yelled out ‘you’re on the back page of the Telegraph tomorrow’. I ran into the room and I saw my photo next to Alan Jones with the headline ‘Go must go’. I just started laughing and so did my son. I said to him ‘does that bother you?’. He said: no. I asked why not and he said ‘because it doesn’t bother you’. I knew then we were going to be OK.”
    The Wests Tigers may lose to the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night. They may lose next week as well. But there’s a hardness to a club that traditionally folds when the going gets tough that can’t be ignored.
    It hasn’t been easy, but the decisions that have left many questioning the direction of the organisation now look to be paying off.
    "What’s right isn’t always popular, but eventually what’s right becomes popular," Go said.
    "I think we are starting to see that now. I’m mindful of the fact we’ve only won two games. Things can change quickly. We won our first two games in 2015 and that year we finished 15th. We’ve been here before. But this feels different."

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/03/23...onths-marina-go-tells-the-wests-tigers-story/
     
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  16. Tigerm

    Tigerm Juniors

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    Good insight, but I just cant get to like Go, but there is no denying the club has a direction now that hasn't been there for a while. However, I put this down to Pascoe and now Cleary (and his missus apparently).
     
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  17. Ron's_Mate

    Ron's_Mate Bench

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    Tigers freshen up paying serious dividends: Lawrence
    By James Buckley
    28 March 2018 — 5:17pm

    The Wests Tigers' longest serving player believes an off-season roster overhaul and the influence of Ivan Cleary has provided the freshen up the club desperately needed as it chases a first top-eight finish in seven years.
    Chris Lawrence has toiled for years in a listless Tigers side that hasn't played finals football since 2011, but with 12 new first-grade players on the books this year and four further development youngsters who train with the main squad, the club has a distinctly fresh feel in 2018 according to the 29-year-old.
    Benji Marshall returned to the club this year while Ben Matulino, Chris McQueen, Corey Thompson, Josh Reynolds, Mahe Fonua, Pita Godinet, Robbie Rochow, Russell Packer, Taane Milne, Tyson Gamble are now all on the Tigers' books.
    They've joined Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Tuimoala Lolohea and Alex Twal who made mid-season switches last year.
    Early-season results suggest a monumental shift in fortunes are on the way for the joint venture, which has won two matches already on the back of the stiffest defensive record in the league before Monday's clash with the Parramatta Eels.
    "We got a fresh batch of players that came in with no baggage and no history or past and wanting to bring good attitude and effort and training here to the club," Lawrence said.
    "We've had about 16 new faces at the club. We've missed the boys that have gone particularly last year, some of the guys had been here for a long time but I mean that's footy these days, players come and go unfortunately.
    "We came together as a squad at the start of the year and because we were such a new squad we knew we were able to create something that was just ours, and we didn't have any baggage from the start because we were such a new team, a lot of the players didn't have any attachments to that past Tigers team.
    "It needed to happen to be honest, last few years have been disappointing. Not only on the field but with plenty of issues and dramas off it as well, it was important that as a club we got a stable environment."
    Cleary's major focus in preseason was defence, and the former Penrith and NZ Warriors coach has already imparted a major attitude shift in his players.
    They've conceded just two four pointers in the opening three rounds, and kept Brisbane tryless last Friday before going down in a controversial golden-point battle.
    "It's been no secret the last couple of years our defensive record has been pretty poor, that was definitely a focus in the off season to improve that," Lawrence said.
    "One way we've done that is just by working hard continuously for one another. That was a big theme of our preseason, little effort areas.
    "That's shown in the start of the first few games, the boys out on the field working hard and putting in the effort which has given us a good defensive result."
    A win against Parramatta on Monday will hand the Tigers their strongest start to an NRL campaign since 2010, and Cleary's best ever opening four rounds in his 12th season as a head coach.
    "He definitely brings a lot of discipline and accountability, that's definitely something he's brought in the pre-season and it's something that we haven't had in the last couple of years which has shown in our consistency and performances," Lawrence said.
    "He just brings a simple game plan, everyone knows their role, knows what they've got to do for the team. Whether it's a little effort area or a structure in attack and defence, everyone knows what their role is and that's your job to do."
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/ti...rious-dividends-lawrence-20180328-p4z6q8.html
     
  18. Tigerm

    Tigerm Juniors

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    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...8/news-story/9274e3770073a8d3962b835acaac934b

    Moneyball: Wests Tigers real winners in NRL’s best buys for season 2018
    NRL Premiership

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    West Tigers players celebrate Esan Marsters, Michael Chee Kam and Benji Marshall celebrate a try.Source: News Corp Australia
    YOU could make a case for most of the big buys this season but the reality of the NRL is it’s a results driven business.

    It’s also one where juggling the salary cap is key.

    So when making a call on the best buys for the year, you not only need to take into account the impact they’ve had on the team but how much they’re costing the club.

    We all love a bargain. NRL clubs are no different.

    While most teams will have at least one bargain buy, it’s the Wests Tigers’ recruitment team responsible for the greatest number of value-for-money pick-ups.

    The turnover of their roster has been nothing short of dramatic.

    The loss of talent is remarkable yet the ability to plug the holes has been an early season highlight.

    While most teams are running around with a fullback worth $700,000 plus a season, Ivan Cleary has put his faith in a minimum wage toiler.

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    Tigers flyer Corey Thompson scores a try.Source: News Corp Australia
    But who needs a million-dollar man when the bloke on $95,000 is doing such a stand-up job?

    Whether it’s on the wing or at fullback, Corey Thompson has been rock solid.

    He’s an early contender for buy of the season.

    No one anticipated David Nofoaluma staring the year in reserve grade but Thompson’s hard work was rewarded and Cleary’s decision justified.

    He clinched the match winner for his team in round one and doesn’t shirk his work.

    Or how about Pita Godinet?

    Who, you ask? The bloke wearing the No.9. He pushed Matt McIlwrick out of the starting side and onto the bench.

    A 30-year-old journeyman, Godinet started his career with the Warriors in 2011 but had his most success with Wakefield in the Super League.

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    Pita Godinet of the Tigers offloads.Source: Getty Images
    By all rights, his first grade career should’ve been finished.

    He didn’t accept that. To the credit of the coaching staff, they didn’t come into the pre-season with a preconceived idea of how the first grade team should look.

    Perhaps the greatest buy for the Tigers is Benji Marshall.

    It’s hard to look past him.

    Not only has he evolved as a player but he’s costing them peanuts.

    The veteran is earning around $200,000 this season and shown he’s worth every cent.

    Yes, the flashy glimpses are still there, so too the magical step. But he’s demonstrating a composure we’ve never seen before.

    The verdict?

    Green and Maloney have been great buys but when you take into account the wage and influence they have on their team, Marshall’s our man.
     
  19. Tigerm

    Tigerm Juniors

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    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...r/news-story/d4d2c3fe929f47f34d684913ffa3a3ba


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    Jacob Liddle makes a break against the Eels.Source: Getty Images
    AFTER seven months on the sidelines and two shoulder surgeries, young Wests Tigers hooker Jacob Liddle has set his sights on the No.9 jersey he’s been chasing for three years.
    Since making his NRL debut as a teenager in 2016, the livewire hooker’s career has hit speed bump after speed bump, with injuries and rehab his only constant after bursting onto the scene.

    Establishing himself in first grade under new coach Ivan Cleary last year, Liddle’s luck hit rock bottom when he injured his right shoulder in Round 19, putting a premature end to his season and forcing him to go under the knife.

    His return came with a bang, with Liddle scooting out of dummy half and through Parramatta’s defensive line with his first touch after coming on in the first half when starting hooker Pita Godinet went off for a concussion test.

    It was a swift reminder of the explosive acceleration that makes the young gun such a threat around the ruck and has had him tipped for big things since he was 18.


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    Jacob Liddle attempts to bust a tackle against the Dragons last year.Source: AAP
    While he doesn’t expect to push for the starting team in the next few weeks, Liddle says he wants the responsibility that comes with the Tigers’ famous No.9 jersey and sees an opportunity to supercharge the team’s attack, which had struggled to fire in the first three rounds.

    “Definitely long-term, I want to wear that No.9 jersey,” Liddle told foxsports.com.au.

    “I think at the moment I just want to keep on playing footy and getting my match fitness up and getting my tackling right. But I was pretty happy with the hit out today.”

    In his 30-minute cameo off the bench on Monday Liddle ran for 62 metres from his three darts out of dummy half.

    Exploiting quick play the balls has always been his strength and Liddle says he has been encouraged by Cleary to take the game on whenever he sees an opening.

    “That’s my normal game, just to run on quick play the balls if there’s only one marker or something,” Liddle said.


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    “I look to get out fast and hopefully the boys come with me. Ivan encourages that, he loves it.

    “If we’ve got a fast play the ball he wants me to look to get over the advantage line and run at them.”

    It’s a style that is somewhat in contrast to what the Tigers get from veteran hooker Godinet, which explains their slow reactions to Liddle’s first scoot against the Eels.

    Luke Brooks is one of the fastest halves in the NRL and even he was unable to loom up alongside his younger teammate after being caught out by Liddle’s sharp work.

    “He’s quick, he made that break and I was trying to catch up to him, I couldn’t catch him,” Brooks said.

    “He’s a great player, so for his first game back after two shoulder reconstructions that’s a great effort from him, so he’s going to be good for us.”

    Cleary was equally impressed by Liddle’s first game back.

    “Jake’s a good young kid and a good player, very good player, got a lot of potential,” Cleary said.

    “He went through two shoulder reconstructions at the end of last year, so he’s trained really hard and yeah, he’s a popular guy around the place and as I said, he’s got a lot of potential.”

    Three years but just 15 games into his NRL career, Liddle is jumping out of his skin just to get onto the park and stay there so he can start to live up to his clear talent.

    If he can do that, and with Josh Reynolds still to join a spine in the middle of a promising transition, the question marks over the side’s attack might soon be a thing of the past.
     
    Ron's_Mate likes this.
  20. simmo05

    simmo05 Juniors

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    The turd had similar raps and injury fortunes, hope it turns out differently this time
     
    sensesmaybenumbed likes this.

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