Written by: Peter Dickinson from TigerNation on BlogSport.
With pre-season in its final stages and the season proper barely a week a way now, it’s time to take a look at those who have impressed and those who look set to find themselves on the peripherals of the first team. Pre-season has been a real mix of fortunes for the Tigers.
On the positive side of things, we managed to gain two wins. Both wins were fairly similar too, in the fact that we showed some good attacking signs and perhaps more importantly, we showed some defensive improvements.
So who has done their chances some good? Who is likely to find themselves taking a step back? This is here is the Wests Tigers stock report.
James Gavet: James Gavet is one name not many people would’ve expected to be talked about as a potential first grader for Round 1. Gavet has had a real impressive pre-season. Impressive in training and likewise in the trial matches. The 186cm prop will have serious competition for spots in the likes of Aaron Woods, Keith Galloway and Martin Taupau, but a spot on the bench would not be unwarranted and certainly not unrealistic. Can be considered unlucky to miss out if he does.
Martin Taupau: Martin Taupau’s limited first grade experience has never really been a sign of his talent. Exceptional talent at the Bulldogs has meant Taupau has had to bide his time. The Wests Tigers coaching staff have all been happy with Taupau’s new beginning here at the club. In fact, there’s a real feeling that he will prosper as the season goes on. He’s big, strong, uncompromising, and a willing worker. Those assets will help him succeed in 2014.
James Tedesco: James Tedesco would’ve had to do a lot wrong to lose his grip on the number 1. Tim Moltzen was out injured, Kurtis Rowe, as impressive as he is, lacks the experience. None of that is an issue though. Tedesco has had a really encouraging pre-season. The experience of last season has him ready. The World Cup experience has also given him more confidence. He’s also 100% fit again and looks noticeably quicker this season. Good things look in store for James.
Chris Lawrence: There’s a belief amongst the fans that Chris Lawrence has lost it. They say the hip injury he infamously suffered has ensured he will never hit the same heights of his youth. In my opinion the jury is still out. 2013 saw him start strong but he then carried an ankle injury for the majority of the season, which prevented him from playing at his peak. His pre-season has been solid. He says he feels faster this year and this is what we’re all hoping to see.
Aaron Woods: 2013 was a real big year for Aaron Woods. Exposure to origin the highlight. His level of consistency for Wests Tigers though should not go unnoticed. He’s looked his usual self in pre-season once again.
Adam Blair: Adam Blair can’t seem to avoid the detractors at Wests Tigers. He has A LOT to prove in 2014. Many suggest his pre-season form has been nothing more than okay. To me that’s a worrying sign for a guy i’m tipping to be one of the big improvers in 2014. I’d put Adam in the Stock Down category, but to be fair, his stock was already down and it hasn’t gone down any further. The onus though is on him to play good football. Time will tell how he does. Give him 6 weeks.
Curtis Sironen: It may seem harsh to label Curtis here, due to injury. However, there’s no doubt there were high hopes for Curtis in 2014 and a long term injury hurts him. It means he’ll return behind the 8-ball and severely short on match fitness. It’ll be a big test of his talent when he does return. I’ll back him to fight back though.
Jack Buchanan: Like Sironen above, it may seem harsh to label Jack Buchanan here. Heck! He’s not even injured. However there’s no doubt that Buchanan is one of two guys who could lose out come Round 1 to James Gavet. For that matter, we’ll even throw in Ava Seumanufagai into this because he’s in the same boat as Jack. You get the feeling one of the two, if not both, could start the season in the NSW Cup squad.
Sausaso Sue: Sausao’s pre-season hasn’t really got off the ground. A concussion robbed him of a final chance to play last weekend. To be honest, i can’t see Sauaso in the squad for Round 1, and after the final Round of 2013, that’s a surprising thing. It’s even more surprising given the loss of Curtis Sironen and Dene Halatau to injuries. Perhaps he does make it though? From where i sit though, it looks a long shot. That said, he won’t be out for long.
Another Great article from Peter Dickinson from TigerNation on BlogSport.