The Contenders: Prop

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The Contenders: Prop

Post by willow » Thu 04 Jan, 2018 9:25 pm

Courtesy of the official Wests Tigers website:

The Contenders: Prop
Author Dan Talintyre
Thu 4 Jan 2018, 01:30 PM

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 over 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 the 2017 season.

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 up, we look at the players in the running to feature in the front row in 2018!

ALEX TWAL

Age: 21

NRL Games: 9

At Wests Tigers since: 2017

After moving over to Wests Tigers midway through the 2017 season, Alex Twal showed his potential with a superb debut season — featuring in nine out of nine games for Wests Tigers with impressive numbers to match. From there, the Parramatta City Titans junior made Lebanon’s World Cup squad where he thrived again — starting up front alongside Tim Mannah and playing big minutes as the Cedars stunned their way to the quarterfinals. In fact, no player made more tackles through the opening four games of the tournament than Twal, who stands to figure as a big part of Wests Tigers’ forward pack in 2018; whether it’s starting at prop, on the edge or lock or coming off the bench. Signed through until the end of the 2020, Twal is definitely one to watch in the year ahead and will only benefit from having an improved pack around him.


BEN MATULINO

Age: 29

NRL Games: 212

At Wests Tigers since: 2018

One of the first high-profile players to join “the bus” in 2018, Ben Matulino will reunite with former Coach Ivan Cleary and teammates Elijah Taylor and Russell Packer (who we’ll get to later) in 2018 as he looks to re-establish himself as one of the top props in rugby league. The 29-year-old has been a stalwart of the Warriors and Kiwi forward pack over the past decade and will certainly provide plenty of experience, muscle and consistency in Wests Tigers’ pack in 2018. With a niggling knee injury behind him and a fresh change across the Tasman, look for Matulino to return to his career best in 2018.


J FELISE

Age: 21

NRL Games: 13

At Wests Tigers since: 2016

A promising junior forward, JJ Felise again featured in a handful of games for Wests Tigers in 2017 after laying a good platform in his debut season the year prior. One of the best one-on-one tacklers in the team, Felise will be looking to improve his consistency in the coming season and will only improve with senior players around him, but could still play a key role for Cleary’s men going forward given his NRL experience.



RUSSELL PACKER

Age: 28

NRL Games: 151

At Wests Tigers since: 2018

With a dominant 2017 season behind him at the Dragons, Russell Packer will look to continue his resurgence as one of the top props in the game in 2018 alongside former teammates Matulino and Taylor, who all made a Grand Final together back in 2011. A powerful prop who will look to lead the line for Wests Tigers in 2018, Packer has tremendous leadership qualities and will take a senior role in the side as he lifts those around him. Fresh off a return to the Kiwi national side at the World Cup, Packer will be determined to produce his best at Wests Tigers having signed through until the end of the 2021 season.


SAUASO SUE

Age: 25

NRL Games: 100

At Wests Tigers since: 2013

A victim of his versatility in the forward pack at times over the past few years, Sauaso Sue will certainly feature for Wests Tigers in 2018 — the only question is where. Many list Sue’s best position as a prop forward (either starting or coming off the bench), and with increased depth across every position in the pack, it’ll be fascinating to see where he fits in Cleary’s team going forward. A regular in the Samaon international side, Sue has played the second most games for Wests Tigers of any forward at the Club and will look to dominate again in 2018 with his bruising defence and tough carries of the ball.



TIM GRANT

Age: 29

NRL Games: 183

At Wests Tigers since: 2016

An experienced and relentless campaigner, Tim Grant enjoyed another strong season at Wests Tigers in 2017 — ending the year as one of the two starting props with an increased leadership role in Ivan Cleary’s side. The former State of Origin forward will likely reach the 200-game milestone in 2018 after previous stints at Penrith and South Sydney, and it’ll be fascinating to see how big of a role Grant carries in 2018 with better depth around him. Capable of playing big minutes, Grant’s experience and composure is a big plus for any side and there’s no doubt he will more than hold his own this year.


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Post by GNR4LIFE » Thu 04 Jan, 2018 9:45 pm

Easily our strongest postition with the most depth.

Packerlino to start. Twal and Sue on the bench. Grant and Felise back up.

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Post by wt01 » Thu 04 Jan, 2018 10:13 pm

other 2 bench spots belong to marshall and aloiai
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Post by Seantice » Thu 04 Jan, 2018 11:44 pm

Hopefully Felise steps up. Grant and Sue are not ideal to me honestly.

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Post by Geo. » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 7:28 am

Dan doesn't consider Aloiai a Prop...interesting...

I think Sauaso showed at the back end of they year whilst injured he can have a good function/role impact coming off the bench like running over Taupau...
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Post by Needaname » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:11 am

Geo. wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 7:28 am
Dan doesn't consider Aloiai a Prop...interesting...

I think Sauaso showed at the back end of they year whilst injured he can have a good function/role impact coming off the bench like running over Taupau...
That game was on fox the other day.
Gee that was a good try.
The sad thing is Geo. In the backend of 2016 Sue was a starting prop and was one of our best. Highlighted by his performance in the Warriors game at Mt Smart. Sue runs with no fear. Has good footwork at the line and gets the most meters after contact all while playing in the middle.
I cannot for the life of me work out why taylor reversed the roles of Sue and Alioia for the start of the 2017 season....
Dumb move.
Sue looked more at home again coming off the bench playing that impact role in the back end of this season.

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Post by formerguest » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:30 am

Needaname wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:11 am
Geo. wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 7:28 am
Dan doesn't consider Aloiai a Prop...interesting...

I think Sauaso showed at the back end of they year whilst injured he can have a good function/role impact coming off the bench like running over Taupau...
That game was on fox the other day.
Gee that was a good try.
The sad thing is Geo. In the backend of 2016 Sue was a starting prop and was one of our best. Highlighted by his performance in the Warriors game at Mt Smart. Sue runs with no fear. Has good footwork at the line and gets the most meters after contact all while playing in the middle.
I cannot for the life of me work out why taylor reversed the roles of Sue and Alioia for the start of the 2017 season....
Dumb move.
Sue looked more at home again coming off the bench playing that impact role in the back end of this season.
Maybe he took notice of the many on here that wanted Suaso playing wide.

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Post by WT2K » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:50 am

Packerlino to start with Twal and probably Sue as bench props.
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Post by Needaname » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 11:11 am

formerguest wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:30 am
Needaname wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 10:11 am
Geo. wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 7:28 am
Dan doesn't consider Aloiai a Prop...interesting...

I think Sauaso showed at the back end of they year whilst injured he can have a good function/role impact coming off the bench like running over Taupau...
That game was on fox the other day.
Gee that was a good try.
The sad thing is Geo. In the backend of 2016 Sue was a starting prop and was one of our best. Highlighted by his performance in the Warriors game at Mt Smart. Sue runs with no fear. Has good footwork at the line and gets the most meters after contact all while playing in the middle.
I cannot for the life of me work out why taylor reversed the roles of Sue and Alioia for the start of the 2017 season....
Dumb move.
Sue looked more at home again coming off the bench playing that impact role in the back end of this season.
Maybe he took notice of the many on here that wanted Suaso playing wide.
Seems like it. Not like taylor to run out of ideas and turn to a fan forum for suggestions.
We don't know, maybe Sue himself felt he was more suited to back row.

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Post by Tiger Watto » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 12:37 pm

Geo. wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 7:28 am
Dan doesn't consider Aloiai a Prop...interesting...

I think Sauaso showed at the back end of they year whilst injured he can have a good function/role impact coming off the bench like running over Taupau...
blah blah blah function and role...

Just run straight and hard and hit the wall... Stomp on a few heads in defence will suffice

Oh. And maybe play more than 2 good games a season.
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Post by willow » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 12:58 pm

When fit Packer and Matulino pick themselves. Twal easily has a bench spot covered and the late season improvement in our defence was largely due to Twal and Eisenhuth having such good workrates and low missed tackle percentages. The 4th bench spot becomes a tussle between Grant/Sue/Felise...When he's firing I'd prefer to see Sue but it will be interesting to see how many minutes Cleary wants these guys playing. Twal and Matulino are the two capable of playing longer whereas Packer/Sue probably won't see more than 40 minutes a game.

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Post by oldprop » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 3:26 pm

Only six props mentioned. I still think we need at least one more in our squad.
Need more props.

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Post by GNR4LIFE » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 4:27 pm

oldprop wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 3:26 pm
Only six props mentioned. I still think we need at least one more in our squad.
Only 6? How many do you want? You can include Aloiai and the Hooth as well if you are that desperate.

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Post by oldprop » Fri 05 Jan, 2018 11:19 pm

GNR4LIFE wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 4:27 pm
oldprop wrote:
Fri 05 Jan, 2018 3:26 pm
Only six props mentioned. I still think we need at least one more in our squad.
Only 6? How many do you want? You can include Aloiai and the Hooth as well if you are that desperate.
I’d like to see us with 8 props. Four in 1st grade and four in the ISP side.
Need more props.

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Post by Geo. » Sat 06 Jan, 2018 4:54 am

Can never have too many props..think it was Jack Gibson who said when you think you have enough..go out and buy 2 more...

Attrition is high up front...both Packer and Mautilino hae spent time on the sidlines in recent seasons either of them go down we are back to rookies a plodder in Grant and a low minute man in Sue...say what you want about Woods but for a big man he was on the field more than off...
Ivan's Laws

1. You are either on the Bus or you are off..
2. The Star of the Team is the Team
3. Be the player your teammates want to play with..
happy tiger wrote:
Mon 11 Jun, 2018 10:03 pm


Sorry FT , you know I'm not the brightest match in the pile

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Post by jadtiger » Sat 06 Jan, 2018 6:50 am

Geo. wrote:
Sat 06 Jan, 2018 4:54 am
Can never have too many props..think it was Jack Gibson who said when you think you have enough..go out and buy 2 more...

Attrition is high up front...both Packer and Mautilino hae spent time on the sidlines in recent seasons either of them go down we are back to rookies a plodder in Grant and a low minute man in Sue...say what you want about Woods but for a big man he was on the field more than off...
it was "Bullfrog" Moore who said it and he was right.Games are won up front and if your front row(now its prop rotation)cant match the opposition you are in for a hard game

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Post by happy tiger » Sat 06 Jan, 2018 9:18 am

Geo. wrote:
Sat 06 Jan, 2018 4:54 am
Can never have too many props..think it was Jack Gibson who said when you think you have enough..go out and buy 2 more...

Attrition is high up front...both Packer and Mautilino hae spent time on the sidlines in recent seasons either of them go down we are back to rookies a plodder in Grant and a low minute man in Sue...say what you want about Woods but for a big man he was on the field more than off...
Jack said one more , no more embellishing please ........

Prop is our strongest position but it needs to be , they will need to carry us kicking and screaming to the Top 8 if we want to make it

Our biggest issue apart from our back row is not having a hooker that can play real big minutes

It's no coincidence in my opinion that many of the top sides have hookers who can play 80 and gives you more size and grunt on the bench

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Post by Tacky » Sat 06 Jan, 2018 10:11 am

We have a 44% win rate with Twal in the team, which is the best of any player in the squad who has played more than 5 games.
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