Wests Tigers prodigal son finally gets his shot

Tigers prodigal son finally gets his shot

Wed 11 Mar, 2015, 6:30am
By Matt Encarnacion, Western Sydney Correspondent, NRL.com
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Less than 12 months after helping lead the Wests Tigers to a Holden Cup premiership, Brenden Santi realised he was behind a long line of veterans at Concord.

They had just signed Braith Anasta and Blake Austin to combine with Adam Blair, Curtis Sironen and Bodene Thompson in a fairly solid-looking back row.

“[So] I did what most young kids would do and left for an opportunity. I wasn’t filthy, because they had a lot of quality first graders in front of me,” he said.

And off he went in search of greener pastures in Parramatta. That was in November, 2013.

By May the following year, Santi was done with the Eels. It took him just six months to realise there was nothing green about Sydney’s greater west after all. Not after the man who had signed him had deserted him, and the replacement told him it would be a long time until he saw any shade of green while he was in charge.

“I got bought by Ricky Stuart, [but] Brad Arthur had other plans at Parramatta,” Santi recalled. “And I don’t think I was in them.”

By August, after returning home with his tail between his legs, he made a surprise NRL debut in a Round 25 clash against the Raiders, coming off the bench for some garbage time minutes in a failed season for the club.

It continued a rollercoaster 12 months that even he thought wouldn’t have arched back as fast as it did.

“To be honest, I didn’t predict it last year. But it was the best feeling really, getting a Round 1 spot with a fully fit team,” he said.

“I was always going to plug along. I was always going to keep fighting for that first grade jersey. I don’t think I ever thought my chances were gone.”

But alas, then came what looked to be another trough.

The dramatic departure of then-coach Mick Potter once again put Santi’s promising career on pause, forcing him to impress a new coach in Jason Taylor. And this time he did, enough so to be selected ahead of a crop of second-rowers including Lamar Liolevave and Salesi Funaki.

And so there he was against the Titans last Sunday, lining up alongside Kyle Lovett and Jesse Sue – two more graduates from that grand-final winning under 20s squad.

And should winger David Nofoaluma and Sitaleki Akauola also force their way back into the line-up, that’ll be five players from that team that kick-started an avalanche of Tigers youngsters taking the NRL by storm.

It might’ve taken him a while, but Santi has finally found the greener pastures he had been searching for.

“So I left for opportunity, and came back for an even better opportunity. It was definitely a no-brainer. I never really wanted to leave,” he said. “The Tigers always felt like home so to come back home was perfect.”

http://www.nrl.com/tigers-prodigal-son-finally-gets-his-shot/tabid/10874/newsid/84386/default.aspx

was never happy that the guy left, glad he’s back.

At the time I didn’t understand the logic of Tigers not wanting him, but I suppose if a rival Club is offering you the chance to maybe play 1st Grade? It would be hard to say no.
Glad his back

He’s found his spot, now that Fulton has retired.

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Definitely glad he is back.

Will be one of the true Tiger legends in years to come.
Not a superstar but as others have said a Fulton type - add to that Lanfranchi and O’Neill type.

Clubs desperately need these type of players - that’s what wins premierships.

Welcome back Brendan - now you can go for it.

Defo one of my fav up and comers.
Met him last year when he played in the NSW cup game @ Cessnock.
The guy is all smiles and humble as can be off the field and on the field, he’s just a machine.
Defo stoked he’s back in tigers colours and hopefully a long career ahead of him, with us.

Santi,another one that I would class as a real workhorse,he will climb to greater heights I predict…hope he does,I like his attitude on and off the field…

cant believe Parra let him mozi on by. What was Brad Arthur thinking. I guess they missed the Santi- clause.

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Workhorse with a bit of size as well.

I think life sometimes allows us to learn lessons, Santi and the club will both beneficiaries of recent events.

Still reckon he needs a haircut….

moltzen, tedesco, santi… a lot of people leave and come back. feels wierd

I didn’t think he would make it a couple of years ago as he seemed a bit small but he’s definitely got more muscle on him now and is playing tough football. Certainly handy to plug gaps in the middle of the field with his defensive workrate.

When he left I told my Parra mates to watch him as he was a good pickup, then he wasn’t heard from again until he decided to leave Parra.

Glad to have him back!

@Spartan117:

Workhorse with a bit of size as well.

I think life sometimes allows us to learn lessons, Santi and the club will both beneficiaries of recent events.

Still reckon he needs a haircut….

NOOOOO! Leave the hair alone - Brendan “The Wild Thing” Santi - an awesome look!

Santi has the potential to be as good as any…He has size Work-rate ticker and motor…so glad he came back…He’ll be pushing Sue for the starting backrow spot all year…

That 2012 NYC team is really starting to blossom…

@yeti:

@Spartan117:

Workhorse with a bit of size as well.

I think life sometimes allows us to learn lessons, Santi and the club will both beneficiaries of recent events.

Still reckon he needs a haircut….

NOOOOO! Leave the hair alone - Brendan “The Wild Thing” Santi - an awesome look!

Says the silvery bald guy 😆 Jealousy’s a curse Yeti :mrgreen:

I’m also glad Santi came back home, he’s just what we need in the back row. Similar to Fulton, but bigger and scarier.

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