March 1, 2014 - 11:57PM
KEY GAINS AND LOSSES:
Gains: Pat Richards (Wigan Warriors), Dene Halatau (Bulldogs), Cory Paterson (Hull Kingston Rovers), Martin Taupau (Bulldogs), Blake Austin (Panthers).
Losses: Benji Marshall (rugby union), Blake Ayshford (Sharks), Lote Tuqiri (Rabbitohs), Joel Reddy (Rabbitohs), Eddy Pettybourne (Wigan Warriors), Matt Groat (Dragons), Yileen Gordon (released).
STRENGTHS: A new corporate structure means that, after 15 years of infighting, the club is in a much stronger position off the field. The Tigers’ retention and recruitment has been geared to bringing down the median age.
WEAKNESSES: There’s a reason the Tigers only finished above Parramatta last year. Injuries conspired against the joint-venture outfit and their luck hasn’t improved this off-season. Coach Mick Potter is off contract and will need a strong start.
THE MAIN MAN: It’s unusual that so much has rested on the shoulders of a man with only one NRL game to his credit. Luke Brooks lived up to the hype in his debut against the Dragons but it takes years for a halfback to learn how to consistently control a game.
CIRCLE THIS DATE: March 9: The Tigers meet the Dragons in a rematch of Luke Brooks’ one and only NRL match. He torched St George Illawarra that day and now he’ll be facing the same opponents. Of course, this is not all about one teenager. It will be the first chance to gauge whether the Tigers have recruited well.
ONE TO WATCH: The other young gun in Tiger Town is Mitchell Moses. Those who have overseen his junior career will tell you there’s no more exciting youngster in the game. A Tigers pivot who loves to make things happen, has flashy hands and feet, but sometimes overplays his hand. Sound familiar?
THE MAN IN CHARGE: It was the toughest of NRL coaching initiations for Mick Potter. He inherited a team not his own and then a big chunk of it spent time in the casualty ward. Without results he will be the next casualty.
STRONGEST 17: 1.James Tedesco 2.David Nofoaluma 3.Tim Simona 4.Chris Lawrence 5.Pat Richards 6.Braith Anasta 7.Luke Brooks 8.Aaron Woods 9.Robbie Farah 10.Keith Galloway 11.Curtis Sironen (pHyR3 can you see Sirro now? lol) 12.Liam Fulton 13.Adam Blair. Interchange: 14.Cory Paterson 15.Ben Murdoch-Masila 16.Martin Taupau 17.Sauaso Sue.
THE HEADLINE YOUR TEAM MOST WANTS TO SEE: Benji who? Brooks leads Tigers to finals
THE HEADLINE YOUR TEAM LEAST WANTS TO SEE: Horror injury toll – now Potter to become the next casualty.