2024 NRL: Wests Tigers Season Preview

After back-to-back wooden spoon seasons, the Wests Tigers are on the hunt for improved results under new coach Benji Marshall in season 2024.

Season Preview

Season 2024 hasn’t even kicked off yet, however there is already a breath of fresh air about the Wests Tigers this year. Will this be the year they break their run of wooden spoon finishes? If the changes they’ve made in the off-season are anything to go by, the answer is yes.

Starting with the clean out of the entire club board back in December, it’s clear the Tigers are intent on making positive changes to improve their on-field results, which have left them languishing at the bottom of the ladder. They’ve stuck by new coach Benji Marshall and put full faith in his ability to bring the new playing group together. Despite being a young coach, Marshall has already earned the respect of the players with the changes he’s trying to instigate, which bodes well for this season and beyond.

The departures of club veterans Luke Brooks and David Nofoaluma will hurt, but in a way both players were in need of a new start. Brooks had been the Tigers halfback for a decade and in that time the Tigers were mediocre at best. A lot of that wasn’t entirely on Brooks, but as the halfback a big part of the responsibility was on his shoulders and his consistency wasn’t where it needed to be.

The vacant halfback slot will be taken by new signing Aidan Sezer, who returns to the NRL after a stint in the UK Super League. His last NRL season was in 2019, when he helped the Raiders to a grand final appearance against the Roosters. He’ll likely partner fellow newcomer Jayden Sullivan in the halves, a pairing that will give the Tigers the combination of youth and experience they need to push themselves up the ladder.

Best Signing

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The arrival of former Dally M Centre of the Year Justin Olam is a huge boost to the Tigers’ outside backs rotation. In his time at the Storm, Olam proved himself to be one of the most destructive players in the NRL, both with and without the ball. By his standards, last season was an inconsistent year for him, and he’ll be looking to repay the Tigers’ faith by getting back to his best. He adds some much needed punch to a Tigers backline that has been lacking strike the past few seasons.

Key Player

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It’s no secret that Api Koroisau was one of the shining lights for the Tigers last year. Leading from the front as captain, he found his best form and was the focal point of much of the Tigers’ attack, especially creatively close to the line and around the ruck. His premiership-winning experience is vital at hooker. If the Tigers are to have an improved year, Api will need to be at his best again and pushing for that Blues State of Origin jersey.

Player to Watch

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An interesting player to watch this year will be Alex Seyfarth. He’s impressed Benji enough to get the starting lock jersey in their first trial against the Warriors. So far in his career Seyfarth hasn’t been able to lock down a regular spot in first grade, but he’s always one of the hardest working players on the field when he gets out there. If he gets an extended run at first grade, whether it’s off the bench or in the starting 13, we could see Seyfarth emerge as one of the most improved players in 2024.

Number Crunching

Matt P to complete

Premiers: 1 (2005). Note: Balmain Tigers won 11 premierships, Western Suburbs Magpies 4 premierships prior to merger.
Minor Premierships: 0
10 years win/loss record: 82 wins, 154 losses (34.7%)
5 years win/loss record: 34 wins, 82 losses (29.3%)
2023 win/loss record: 4 wins, 20 losses (16.7%)
NRL Finals Appearances since 2014: nil
NRL Finals win/loss record since 2014: nil
Biggest win since 2014: 48, vs North Queensland Cowboys (66-18, 20/5/23, Leichhardt Oval); 48, vs Brisbane Broncos (48-0, 17/7/20, Leichhardt Oval)
Biggest loss since 2014: 74, vs North Queensland Cowboys (74-0, 1/7/23, QLD Country Bank Stadium)

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