Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent
3 Wests Tigers in this lot.
7. Pat Richards
Remember that big winger who was quite good for Wests Tigers a decade ago when they won the comp? He’s 31 now, has been playing over in the UK and his big thing is he can kick the ball really high from a kick-off and hoof a drop-out a long way. Are the Tigers having a laugh – surely he won’t get a gig with the likes of David Nofoaluma and Marika Koroibete around? Well, yeah, he will – big Patty looks like he’s lost nothing while he’s been away and if anything he might be even better than when he was last here. His big boot has certainly proven a huge asset, especially in respect to his goal kicking (25 goals from 29 attempts so far) but Richards is one of the form wingers in the competition full stop, with five tries and almost 110 running metres per game. In fact he is comfortably the competition’s leading point scorer after six rounds, with 70. Welcome back Patty, we’ve missed you.
6. James Gavet
Warriors junior James Gavet arrived at the Bulldogs in 2012 with some big raps on him after being named 2011’s NSW Cup Prop of the Year, but played just a solitary game, stuck behind a host of big name and representative forwards. Heading to Wests Tigers in 2013 in hope of bigger things, Gavet’s 2013 was an even bigger write-off, spending most of it sidelined with a foot injury and failing to play a first grade match. So even optimistic Tigers fans wouldn’t have been getting too far ahead of themselves when Gavet was named for Round 1 but the feisty prop has been a revelation since, ensuring the Tigers’ go-forward keeps going forward when Aaron Woods and Keith Galloway leave the field. He’s played a key role in aggressive wins over bigger-name forward packs including the Rabbitohs in Round 3.
5. Martin Taupau
New Zealand-born Martin Taupau played just 21 games over four seasons at the Bulldogs as he found himself stuck behind a host of big name and representative forwards, before heading to Wests Tigers in 2014 in hope of bigger things. Hmm, this is sounding a little familiar… Like fellow Kiwi and Tigers bench prop Gavet (above), Taupau has been a revelation in 2014 after being handed more responsibility at his new club. Like Gavet, Taupau has been a key factor in the Tigers maintaining their relentless aggression once their starting props leave the field. Taupau has churned through almost 110 metres per game and notched a couple of tries that has him, like Gavet, being mentioned as possible call-ups for the Kiwis ahead of the upcoming Test against Australia.
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Honorable mentions could go to;
Honorable mentions could go to;
Yeah Dockers has been good but to be fair he was good last year, maybe Willie Tonga?
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Thanks for posting this PL. I think the emergence of Gavet has surprised many and more so than the others, simply because most had little or no knowledge of him. Potter new exactly what he would provide, having earmarked James with his great pre-season, for the same role last year, before the foot injury scuppered his season.
It is only six rounds in, but he is showing a slightly refined version of that raw energy he displayed in the NYC and carried through with the Vulcans. I recall your posts regarding James long prior to my joining the forum mid last year, so no doubt you have seen more of him.
I championed him in a number of threads leading up to this season and was viewed with plenty of scepters ism, though somewhat understandably I suppose given most had not seen him play. I think he is improving a little each week and will be an even more valuable player come seasons end. Potter and the club showed some faith in him last year, so hopefully he will repay that by staying if we offer reasonable terms.