The exciting post-Farah era begins for the Wests Tigers in 2017, as they look to cement themselves as a top 8 side, and live up to the hype they have produced over the last few years.
Last Season Placing
9th – Failed to make the finals
From world-beaters to downright embarrassing, the Tigers 2016 season was a tale of two teams. The team that took down premiership heavyweights like the Broncos and Cowboys, and the team that gave the Newcastle Knights their only win of the season. After winning their first two games, the Tigers didn’t taste success again until round 9. It’s that sort of consistency that needs eradicating this season.
Most of the talk in Tiger town at the moment is around new recruit Jamal Idris, and how he will perform in his first season in the NRL since 2014. The powerful centre has impressed at the recent trial games, and will be hoping to bring back the form that made him one of the most feared ball runners in the game.
The Tigers seem to already have a slight crisis in regards to their hooking option for round 1 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. While they will be coming up against former club legend and hooker Robbie Farah, the Tigers will be without Matt Ballin and Jacob Liddle. Matt McIllwrick will likely wear the nine jumper, with possibly Jordan Rankin or Jeremy Marshall-King on the bench as a utility.
With the future of the Tigers big four in doubt, they will be all guns blazing in 2017, trying to convince the band of young guns to stick together at the joint venture. They have the attack and have improved defensively, but will it be enough for Jason Taylor’s men this season?
James Tedesco: New South Wales incumbent fullback James Tedesco is widely regarded as the best number 1 in the competition. His electrifying running game, paired with a good pair of hands and reliable support play, make him a danger for any team he comes up against. He was the glue of the Tigers attack last year, and will be the key for their success in the upcoming season.
Mitchell Moses: The young playmaker had his breakout season in 2016, finishing second in the 5/8 of the year Dally M polls. Moses’ game was taken to a whole new level, with the improvement of his passing, kicking and running games. With Luke Brooks yet to make that step up as a dominant playmaker, Moses will be tasked with running this Tigers outfit, a role which will either bring out his best, or fold him under the pressure.
Elijah Taylor: Make no mistake, captain Aaron Woods is very important for his clubs success, but it’s the mid 2016 purchase of Elijah Taylor that will be most important for the Tigers this year. Taylor showed how good he can be for a teams attack when he went to the Tigers last season, providing the young Tigers halves with plenty of time and space to execute plays. He gets through a mountain of work in defense, and will be one of the more experienced players at the club this season.
Story of 2017
So much positivity is surrounding the club heading into this season. The young playing group seems to finally be living up to their potential, and all the players seem to be right behind Jason Taylor.
The Tigers have been blessed with one of the easier draws in the competition, and will need to play at a consistent level if they are to make finals football for the first time since 2011.
There are so many other teams fighting for a place in that top 8, so it is hard to give them a definite spot. It’s the make or break season for a lot of the players and especially the coach. No finals football in 2017 could spell disaster for a club that is beginning to demand results. I believe the hype is warranted and the Tigers can play some brilliant football this season. They can sneak into the 8, and possibly do some damage in the finals.
Top Try Scorer: David Nofoaluma
Top Points Scorer: Mitchell Moses
Player of the Year: James Tedesco
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