‘I was ready to go’: Legend’s pep talk convinced Brooks to stay at Tigers
By Christian Nicolussi
January 31, 2023 — 5.45am
Luke Brooks has revealed he was ready to quit Wests Tigers – until a heart-to-heart with Benji Marshall reignited his excitement for the season ahead.
Brooks also confirmed he had been in regular contact with good friend Mitchell Moses about returning to the club, and said the pair would “like a shot at playing together again”.
Canterbury boss Phil Gould confirmed the Bulldogs, once considered the frontrunners for Moses’ services, were no longer interested – leaving the Tigers locked in a battle with Parramatta for his signature.
“We never made an offer for Mitchell Moses – we asked that if he was thinking about leaving Parramatta, we’d like to be considered,” Gould told the Herald.
“We hadn’t heard anything from Mitchell or his manager since November. We never really thought he would leave Eels anyway.
“We had the opportunity to sign young Karl Oloapu from the Broncos last week and moved in that direction. We are very happy with that signing.”
Brooks’ future at the Tigers has been under the microscope in the past few seasons because of his mixed form and whopping price tag, which exceeds $1 million this year because of a heavily back-ended contract. The continued scrutiny led him to considering a fresh start towards the end of last season.
“There was a point towards the back end of last year I was ready to go, and I felt like I needed a change,” Brooks told the Herald.
“But a couple of weeks before coming back to pre-season training, I spoke with Benji a few times, then sat back and had a look at what the club was doing, who they were bringing in, and I started getting excited. It did feel like a fresh change for me.
“Benji said to me, ‘We obviously want you here, but if you want to go elsewhere, do what’s best for you’.”
Entering his 11th season in the top grade, Brooks said he was eager to build on his halves combination with another off-contract Tiger, Adam Doueihi.
Doueihi has played 51 games in three seasons at the Tigers, but only 16 games in the halves with Brooks. Moses is good friends with Brooks while he also has the Lebanon World Cup connection to Doueihi.
Brooks said he had been doing his best to woo Moses back to the same club he ditched midway through 2017.
Coach Tim Sheens confirmed last week the Tigers had made contact with Moses, but “it will be Mitch’s call”.
“I’ve spoken to Mitch a bit, I’ve tried to suss him out and sell the joint [to him],” Brooks said. “We’ve spoken about it before about how we were really young the last time we played together, and we’d like a shot at playing together again. I don’t know where his head is at.
“We know each other’s game back to front. Being close mates helps as well – he lives two minutes away, and we had daughters born two weeks apart. It would be good for him to come here.”
Sheens and Marshall have told Brooks to run the ball more and be “greedy”, especially close to the opposition’s try line.
Doueihi, like Brooks, is in no rush to thrash out his own future beyond this season and simply wants to build his combination with his little halfback.
“I’m not in a rush to sign anywhere or do anything – playing good footy will sort it out,” Doueihi said.
Halfback Luke Brooks has revealed he was all set to leave Wests Tigers last year as his patchy form and monster pay packet drew criticism from pundits and fans.