Naiqama, McIlwrick hoping to stay on the bus

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willow
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Naiqama, McIlwrick hoping to stay on the bus

Post by willow » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:18 pm

Naiqama, McIlwrick hoping to stay on the bus

Chris Kennedy Sun 11 Jun, 2017, 7:00am
By Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com
@CKennedy80

With Wests Tigers' highly-publicised player contract wranglings now settling down, off-contract pair Kev Naiqama and Matt McIlwrick are hoping they can tie their future's down at Concord.

Naiqama is enjoying a shift back to his preferred wing position – which he says is his best spot – while McIlwrick is enjoying his longest-ever run of consistent NRL starts after floating in and out of first grade at previous clubs Canberra and the Roosters.

"Hopefully if the opportunity arises to stay at the club, that would be great but I haven't given it too much thought," Naiqama told NRL.com.

"I'm just focusing on doing my best job while I'm here at the Tigers and that starts this week [against the Roosters]. That's all my thought process has been to be honest, just preparing the best I can for the team and doing my best while I'm here."

Naiqama said he was enjoying his footy more since reverting to the wing in Round 9 because it allowed him to get more involved, and the numbers bear that out. He averaged 94 metres per game in eight starts at centre and has averaged a whopping 149 metres in four games since switching to wing.

His tackle busts have also jumped from around one per game to three per game and he has two tries in four starts at wing after just three in eight at centre.

"I think I get more involved being on the wing in regards to getting my hands on the ball and just helping the boys out in yardage," he added.

Naiqama admitted all the off-field distractions may have crept into the two previous performances and hoped an improved effort last Saturday against the Dragons was a turning point.

"It sort of crept in against Souths and Brisbane and sort of took its toll with the media and all the attention on us but now that's all settled hopefully we can just focus on football," he said.

"This weekend is a big game, it's been a while since we got a win and we'll be doing everything we can to get the two points. It should be a good afternoon, they're a benchmark side the Roosters."

Naiqama and McIlwrick both felt the team should have made more of its chances against the Dragons in a tight 16-12 loss and regarded it as one that got away but hoped it pointed to brighter things ahead.

"We came up against a quality side on the weekend and probably feel like it's an opportunity lost," McIlwrick said.

"Obviously you're never happy with a loss but I think we've come on in leaps and bounds, especially bouncing back from that Broncos game a couple of weeks ago but we've obviously still got plenty to work on and still missing a couple of troops."

McIlwrick said he was loving chance to start consistently in first grade as he looks to extend his stay at Concord. The 26-year-old Kiwi has played first grade in each of the past five seasons but never more than eight games in one year. This year he is about to start his 13th straight.

"I came to the Tigers for an opportunity and I was lucky enough [to get one]," he said.

"Unfortunately Matty [Ballin] had some injuries there but it gave me an opportunity to start every game this year so far.

"I'm pretty determined to hold that spot and see what I can do with it. I'm enjoying learning each week and trying to improve my game. [Jacob] Liddle is there as well and he's been playing pretty well lately. I'm enjoying building a combination with him also.

"Playing 12 straight games, it's the most games I've played in a season so I've found it's very good for your game because you're not in and out of reserve grade and every time you come back into first grade you've got to start again so it's been great in that aspect.

"Now I feel a lot more comfortable I can work on those smaller things in my game and hopefully improve which is better for the team.

"Hopefully I can stay here, we've had a big few months of contract talks [at the Tigers]. Once that's out of the way hopefully we can come to terms with something but I'm loving the club and they've been good to me so hopefully I can stick around for a bit longer."


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Post by Born tiger » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:31 pm

Naiqama can stay if he wants to play the utility role in Reserve grade otherwise he can go. Haha, seriously though I dont want him at the club next year.

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Post by GNR4LIFE » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:34 pm

Born tiger wrote:
Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:31 pm
Naiqama can stay if he wants to play the utility role in Reserve grade otherwise he can go. Haha, seriously though I dont want him at the club next year.
He'd be fine as a depth player.

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Post by jadtiger » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:35 pm

Pass on Kevie his few decent performances are far outweighed by his dismal defensive efforts over the years

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Post by Born tiger » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:39 pm

I just feel like its time to start fresh, bit of a clean out, get some new faces in there.


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Post by Demps » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:46 pm

Kevin will lead us to a grand final win !!


...in NSW cup.
Hes seriously amazing at that level.

Mediocre first grade player tho.
Could play 1 - 5 in state cup.
#Unbeatable

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Post by AfricanAnimal » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:49 pm

Naiqama must stay. Defence could be better but valuable asset overall.

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Post by prattenparkchild » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 4:01 pm

I thought McIllwrick had been re-signed for a further 2 years? or at least offered an extension. He deserves it. I think Liddell is still a season or so off being fully ready for NRL.

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Post by stryker » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 4:25 pm

Kev should have been sacked from first grade 18 months ago.

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Post by Sabre » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 5:11 pm

Don't know of any bus routes from Sydney that go to the UK.
Kevvie will be on the plane instead.

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Post by hobbo » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 5:52 pm

Kev would be out of his depth in the kids pool .
Can't believe he's milked a pay packet for so long

Enough is enough
We need mongrel ..
No more plodders !

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Post by Demps » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 6:05 pm

AfricanAnimal wrote:
Sun 11 Jun, 2017 3:49 pm
Naiqama must stay. Defence could be better but valuable asset overall.
Your posts make me believe you don't watch games.
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Post by WT2K » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 6:22 pm

Kev should look to the ESL
:sign:

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Post by Tweed Tiger » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 6:46 pm

cya kev

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Post by Champs05 » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 7:13 pm

McIllwrick- yes
Kev - No way.

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Post by Chevy » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 7:14 pm

These guys are supposed to be professionals but they use any little distraction as an excuse for their ordinary form no wonder we are rubbish.

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Post by Cultured Bogan » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 7:16 pm

Sabre wrote:
Sun 11 Jun, 2017 5:11 pm
Don't know of any bus routes from Sydney that go to the UK.
Kevvie will be on the plane instead.
Airbus A380?
Gentlemen, this is democracy manifest!

Cuando llegue el día, y estoy parado a las puertas del cielo, será Dios pidiendo mi perdón...

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Post by Sabre » Sun 11 Jun, 2017 7:16 pm

I'm happy to pay for McIlwrick to get a year's worth of Opal Card travel. Naiqama on the other hand....

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