The Contenders: Centre

User avatar
Geo.
Member
Member
Posts: 29908
Joined: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:55 pm
Location: Sandy Point NSW..

The Contenders: Centre

Post by Geo. » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 5:56 am

The Contenders: Centre
Author Dan Talintyre Timestamp Tue 19 Dec 2017, 06:36 AM

The battle for spots will be at an all-time high at Wests Tigers in 2018, with Coach Ivan Cleary putting together an extremely strong squad for the season ahead.

With 10 brand new faces “on the bus” for the year ahead and a great mixture of youthful talent and experience in the midst, the team that takes to the field in Round 1 against the Roosters will be vastly different from the one that ended 2017 against the Warriors.

In the “Contenders” series, we take a look at those who will battle it out for spots in 2018, and not envy the decisions ahead for Coach Cleary in selecting a team for Round 1!


Next on our list is the centre position — a spot that will certainly have plenty of players jostling for position with as many as six players eyeing off a spot in the starting side…


MAHE FONUA

Age: 24

NRL Games: 50

Super League Games: 58

At Wests Tigers since: 2018

We mentioned him as a contender for the wing spot, but it’s in the centres that Mahe Fonua will likely rate his chances at cracking the team for Round 1 after two superb seasons in the back line at Hull FC. A noted try-scorer, Fonua is a tremendous runner with the ball too with bruising defence, and would provide plenty of size, speed and skill should he slot in to the centres or wing. Having been named in the 2011 NYC Team of the Year at centre (ironically, the year in which Ivan Cleary went all the way to the Grand Final as a Coach), the 24-year-old Fonua has shown from a young age a penchant to being one in from the wing and will no doubt be right in the running come Round 1.


ESAN MARSTERS

Age: 21

NRL Games: 13

At Wests Tigers since: 2017

Perhaps considered more a back-rower prior to the start of the 2017 season, Esan Marsters found himself in the unfamiliar spot of centres midway through the year when handed his debut by Ivan Cleary. From that moment, Marsters has made every post a winner, and looked increasingly comfortable in the backs as the season wore on — leading to his name emerging as a contender for the centre spot in our Round 1 team. Blessed with a strong frame but equally dynamic ball-playing skills, Marsters has shown a knack of making things happen with the ball in hand, and after trimming up in the off-season, will certainly fancy his chances at one of the two centre spots on offer in 2018.


TAANE MILNE

Age: 22

NRL Games: 17

At Wests Tigers since: 2018

Somewhat of an underrated signing by Coach Cleary midway through 2017, Taane Milne burst to life at the Rugby League World Cup as part of the Fijian side — leading the competition in try involvements through the group stage and ending with over seven try-assists to his name. A tall, lanky frame coupled with a devastating fend and step caught plenty of defenders out during the competition, and he’ll no doubt be looking to do the same when he links up with his new teammates in 2018. A former Junior Kiwi, Milne showed glimpses of his potential in the centres at the Dragons, and will definitely be a name in discussion for the Round 1 team if he continues that good form.



MOSES SULI

Age: 19

NRL Games: 16

At Wests Tigers since: 2017

Capable of playing on either the wing or the centres, it’ll be fascinating to see not only which position Moses Suli ends up preferring in 2018 but first and foremost whether he will be in the side come Round 1. The talent is there, the size is there and the potential is certainly there for all to see, but competition for spots in the centres is perhaps tighter than any other position. Coming off a brilliant debut season that saw him make his debut for Tonga at just 18 years of age, Suli will be hoping to put the ankle issues that hindered him last year behind him and cement his status as one of the top youngsters in the game.


MICHAEL CHEE KAM

Age: 25

NRL Games: 32

At Wests Tigers since: 2016

An extremely talented junior who floated between the back row and centres in his first few seasons of the NRL, Michael Chee Kam heads in to 2018 off the back of a breakout season — featuring in 22 of a possible 24 games for Ivan Cleary’s side. Importantly too was the role that Chee Kam played in the team, with a number of starting appearances in the centres, and he’ll no doubt again push for contention in the backs again this season. He might end up being a victim of his versatility at times in 2018 given his ability to play either in the backs of forwards, but given his athleticism and good handling skills, we expect the 25-year-old to be right in the running for Round 1.


KEVIN NAIQAMA

Age: 28

NRL Games: 92

At Wests Tigers since: 2015


Capable of playing at fullback, centre or the wing, Kevin Naiqama’s fast feet and experience make him a contender for every position in the backline this year — particularly in the centres. It’s a position the Fijian international has featured in heavily for Wests Tigers over the past three seasons, and he could again find himself contending for a spot one in from the wing given the depth of talent outside of him. Of his 92 first-grade games, Naiqama has played 42 of them in the centres (scoring 18 tries) and has a better win percentage when playing in the centres as opposed to any other position.


https://www.weststigers.com.au/news/201 ... rs-centre/
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 25 Oct, 2018 12:17 am
OK I was wrong
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 22 Nov, 2018 12:13 am
I know at times I'm not always the brightest light in the kitchen


User avatar
Geo.
Member
Member
Posts: 29908
Joined: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:55 pm
Location: Sandy Point NSW..

Post by Geo. » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:37 am

Suli and Marsters for mine Rd 1..

One thing for sure our centre options certainly have some power and size about them ..even Kev while short with a haircut is a nugget..
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 25 Oct, 2018 12:17 am
OK I was wrong
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 22 Nov, 2018 12:13 am
I know at times I'm not always the brightest light in the kitchen

Earl
Member
Member
Posts: 2058
Joined: Sat 18 Feb, 2017 9:21 am

Post by Earl » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:43 am

Milne & Suli should get the spots but it could be Fonua or Masters as well.

Tigerdon
Member
Member
Posts: 4156
Joined: Mon 07 Apr, 2014 11:07 am
Location: Manly

Post by Tigerdon » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 8:52 am

Earl wrote:
Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:43 am
Milne & Suli should get the spots but it could be Fonua or Masters as well.
You have four good options there for the 2018 centres.
Milne
Suli
Fonua
Masters

Very hard to split them. I thought Masters and Suli did really well there as rookies in 2017 and In 2018 they’d be better.
Milne’s form in the WC was hard to ignore and Fonua looks like a beast.
However is fittest should get the nod.
in Ivan we distrust

User avatar
willow
Member
Member
Posts: 33165
Joined: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: The Village

Post by willow » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 11:50 am

I'm torn between Suli and Marsters or Suli and Milne. I definitely have Nofo and Fonua on the wing though.


formerguest
Forum Suppoter
Forum Suppoter
Posts: 4138
Joined: Fri 07 Jun, 2013 7:33 pm

Post by formerguest » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 1:34 pm

Certainly lòoking a lot healthier than this time in the last few seasons. Gee it's good to have seen the last of ridiculously generous and back ended contracts end.

happy tiger
Member
Member
Posts: 41535
Joined: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 4:49 pm
Location: Watching Waiting Lurking

Post by happy tiger » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:30 pm

Geo. wrote:
Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:37 am
Suli and Marsters for mine Rd 1..

One thing for sure our centre options certainly have some power and size about them ..even Kev while short with a haircut is a nugget..
Not going to happen often in 2017/2018 but I agree with Geo

Marsters and Suli gives Brooks another target with size in the red zone

gallagher
Member
Member
Posts: 5707
Joined: Mon 13 Jul, 2009 1:18 pm

Post by gallagher » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:34 pm

I's go with Suli and Marsters to start the year but depth here is looking quite good.

Nelson
Member
Member
Posts: 3499
Joined: Sat 31 Oct, 2015 11:17 am

Post by Nelson » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 8:39 pm

Suli and Milne with Fonua on the wing and Marsters as #17.

User avatar
shakey4d
Member
Member
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon 16 Apr, 2012 6:25 pm

Post by shakey4d » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 8:50 pm

Isn’t looking too good Suli will fit come round 1 does it?

bathursttiger
Member
Member
Posts: 2930
Joined: Thu 02 Dec, 2010 5:21 pm

Post by bathursttiger » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 9:39 pm

I still like Marsters partnered with an experienced player like Fonau or Milne.
At least we have options this season.

User avatar
Sabre
Member
Member
Posts: 6958
Joined: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 9:06 pm
Location: Tiger Town

Post by Sabre » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 10:10 pm

1. Lolohea
2. Nofoaluma
3. Marsters
4. Suli
5. Fonua

User avatar
Yossarian
Member
Member
Posts: 9818
Joined: Sat 11 Jul, 2009 7:46 pm
Location: Central Coast

Post by Yossarian » Wed 20 Dec, 2017 10:49 pm

Geez we've got some depth this year! My order of preference would be:

Suli
Milne
Marsters
Heavy Kevie
Fonua
Cheekers

I really think Fonua is a winger but he may surprise.

colmcd
Member
Member
Posts: 1014
Joined: Wed 04 Jan, 2017 11:38 pm

Post by colmcd » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 2:25 pm

I keep reading our team list and I am just seeing too many backs. Everyone seems to knock the speed of our players, weirdly I would not be surprised if Luke Brooks was faster then our wingers.

1. Lolohea
2. Nofoaluma
3. Milne
4. Suli
5. Fonua

Oh that leaves out:
Marsters, Naiqama, Thompson, Cheekam.

Far too much depth on that bench. Marsters is a welcome surprise, but having 3 spare tyres sucks. I think Cheekam is the odd one out.

It is a real shame because these guys are all semi first grade. Naiqama particularly has probably earned a starting spot (from a no way you play spot).

Cleary recruited one more player then he needed, meaning we could have upgraded someone to Graham, Heighinton, Morris or another player that was on the market. Its a mistake but not a bad one at all.

User avatar
Tacky
Member
Member
Posts: 2714
Joined: Sun 26 Mar, 2017 8:11 pm

Post by Tacky » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 2:51 pm

colmcd wrote:
Thu 21 Dec, 2017 2:25 pm
I keep reading our team list and I am just seeing too many backs. Everyone seems to knock the speed of our players, weirdly I would not be surprised if Luke Brooks was faster then our wingers.

1. Lolohea
2. Nofoaluma
3. Milne
4. Suli
5. Fonua

Oh that leaves out:
Marsters, Naiqama, Thompson, Cheekam.

Far too much depth on that bench. Marsters is a welcome surprise, but having 3 spare tyres sucks. I think Cheekam is the odd one out.

It is a real shame because these guys are all semi first grade. Naiqama particularly has probably earned a starting spot (from a no way you play spot).

Cleary recruited one more player then he needed, meaning we could have upgraded someone to Graham, Heighinton, Morris or another player that was on the market. Its a mistake but not a bad one at all.
We've got plenty of depth in our forwards as well:

Backrowers: Chee-Kam, Lawrence, Aloiai, Eisenhuth, Taylor, McQueen, Sue, Rochow, Marsters.
Front rowers: Matulino, Packer, Twal, Grant, Sue, Eisenhuth, Felise.

Not looking to bad there. Also yeah, I'm pretty sure Brooks is faster than any of our outside backs.
Pres. MCK fan club

MCK fan club members: VP hobbo. Spud Murphy. WestsBenTigers. wt01. TigerKapa. TigersBusDriver. Clearyweareone. kh_canada. sheer64. Magpie Magic. tigermac88. LeichhardtTiger. beachtiger. TSupps05. underdog. rex2ce. teddy23. Tigerdon. willow. TrueTiger. tigerbenji. Balmainbred. hank37w. criwdfluffer. Ken Y.

User avatar
Geo.
Member
Member
Posts: 29908
Joined: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:55 pm
Location: Sandy Point NSW..

Post by Geo. » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 3:51 pm

Wow with all this great depth in the backs and forwards I'm not sure why we are not Premiership favourites,,
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 25 Oct, 2018 12:17 am
OK I was wrong
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 22 Nov, 2018 12:13 am
I know at times I'm not always the brightest light in the kitchen

User avatar
Tacky
Member
Member
Posts: 2714
Joined: Sun 26 Mar, 2017 8:11 pm

Post by Tacky » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 5:45 pm

Geo. wrote:
Thu 21 Dec, 2017 3:51 pm
Wow with all this great depth in the backs and forwards I'm not sure why we are not Premiership favourites,,
I think our depth is fine. I'd much rather have our depth than some other teams in the league (Manly, Raiders, Titans).
Pres. MCK fan club

MCK fan club members: VP hobbo. Spud Murphy. WestsBenTigers. wt01. TigerKapa. TigersBusDriver. Clearyweareone. kh_canada. sheer64. Magpie Magic. tigermac88. LeichhardtTiger. beachtiger. TSupps05. underdog. rex2ce. teddy23. Tigerdon. willow. TrueTiger. tigerbenji. Balmainbred. hank37w. criwdfluffer. Ken Y.

User avatar
851
Member
Member
Posts: 6491
Joined: Sun 12 Jul, 2009 6:38 pm

Post by 851 » Thu 21 Dec, 2017 6:02 pm

Earl wrote:
Wed 20 Dec, 2017 6:43 am
Milne & Suli should get the spots but it could be Fonua or Masters as well.
I agree, Fonua on the wing, Marsters backrow.
Go hard or go home

Post Reply