Halfback Luke Brooks proves he’s the one calling the shots at the Wests Tigers
Date March 13, 2015 - 8:13PM
Last Saturday night’s one-point win against the Titans was the first real indication that Luke Brooks had developed the confidence and authority to dictate terms as the general of the Wests Tigers.
For so long, skipper Robbie Farah and former five-eighth Benji Marshall had called the shots at the joint-venture club.
But in the dying moments of the round one match against the Gold Coast, Brooks made it clear there was a new sheriff in town by orchestrating the match-winning play.
“To be honest I didn’t even know Patty [Richards] was lined up behind me,” Farah said.
“I was just giving the ball to Brooksy. I thought he was going to take the shot. He obviously passed it back to Patty and for us to execute that, especially under pressure, is pleasing to know we can come up with those sorts of plays.”
Brooks might not have taken the snap that gave the Tigers the two points, but the vision and unselfishness to do what was required to get the team over the line was a genuine sign of maturity and development.
Most of the play-makers who have played alongside Farah and Marshall over the years have struggled to voice their authority, but Brooks looks to be the exception.
It’s not only Brooks, however, who is high on confidence after a pre-season under the Jason Taylor regime.
“I don’t want to compare but it’s a really good feel at the moment,” Farah said.
"Everyone is really enjoying coming in and training everyday. Things are going well, everyone is working hard and we’re learning. All the young kids are taking in what JT and the coaching staff are trying to do and believing in the system. I think that shows.
“It hasn’t just been JT coming in. It’s a new strength and conditioning program and coaches and trainers. The way they’ve done things in the gym has been a lot different. The way they’ve done things out on the field is a lot different. It hasn’t just been one person coming in, it’s the overhaul of the whole program.”
As part of that overhaul, the TIgers have also restructured their training and rehabilitation program to try to avoid a repeat of the number of major injuries that plagued the club for the past two seasons.
While Farah admits he’s feeling fresh as a result, he believes the real benefits of the change won’t be seen until the business end of the year.
“That’ll tell over the course of the season,” Farah said.
“Everyone feels good in round one and two, but you’ll start to see the impacts of what we’re doing probably round 15 to round 20 during the hard slog of the year. Hopefully that’s when we’ll start to see the benefits of it later in the season.”
The Tigers got off to a sluggish start in their opening-round match against the Titans, still adapting to Taylor’s game plan.
But Farah insists there were glimpses of brilliance among some of the disharmony, adamant it wouldn’t be long before it all came together.
“JT’s come in with a game plan that’s completely different to what we did last year,” Farah said.
"It’s very structured and very specific to the way he wants to play. We’re learning to adapt to that. You probably saw in round one last week there were times we struggled with it. But you saw at other times it clicked and we looked really good.
“That’s something we’ll continue to work through and it will be weeks before you see us really flowing in attack. We believe in it and once we do finally nail it, it will be pretty.”