Taylor Happy to Give Brooks Time



  • Is this the year Luke Brooks vaults to the next level, meeting some of the lofty expectations and comparisons the halfback has been saddled with ever since that sensational NRL debut against St George Illawarra?

    It’s an answer Wests Tigers supporters will be sweating on as they count down apprehensively to a season in which few, not even probably the faithful souls who lay down their blankets on the Leichhardt Oval hill hours before kick-off, would be game to tip their team as title or even finals contenders.

    They’ve a budding superstar as a fullback, an international front-rower and a wily veteran at hooker, now that the Robbie Farah fiasco has been settled. The jury is still out, though, on the emerging five-eighth Mitchell Moses and also on Brooks after enduring something of the old second-year syndrome in 2015.
    In the spotlight: Tigers coach Jason Taylor says Luke Brooks is continuing to make strides forward.

    In the spotlight: Tigers coach Jason Taylor says Luke Brooks is continuing to make strides forward. Photo: Getty Images

    Given everything that has gone on in the past six months Tigers coach Jason Taylor’s own future could well be entwined with how successful his young halves can be in steering his side around but he believes pressure on Brooks this season is unfair.
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    “Everyone wants to say ‘this is the year’, and I think that’s ridiculous,” Taylor said on Sunday. "I think he’s getting better all the time and he’ll continue to get better.

    "Last season, being his second year [in first grade] which is always hard, I thought what he did was good. It’s always a tough year and I thought he did lots of really good things throughout the season and he continued to learn about the game.

    “He only turned 21 just before Christmas … that’s not any reason that it’s OK for him not to keep developing but the idea that there has to be a line in the sand is not right.”

    It is very early days indeed but the Tigers No.7 started the year in excellent touch when he was brought on in the second half of their first trial, against an understrength Melbourne Storm at Caloundra, on Saturday night. Onlookers on the Sunshine Coast noted that Brooks had returned with a more bulked-up frame but Taylor says “he’s not much heavier now than we want him to be”.

    The next assignment for the Tigers will be to convince Brooks, as well as Moses, to take up options to extend their contracts beyond the end of this season, which they both have until June to do.

    Until then, Taylor is intent on building on an off-season that while mired in controversy due to the Farah affair was rich in foundations for a campaign he hopes might surprise a few.

    “When you don’t make the semi-finals you get a chance to start earlier than any clubs,” Taylor said. "We’ve got [a] really long and solid pre-season under our belt and we’re ready to play.

    "Improving our defence is still No.1 for us as a club, still our biggest area of improvement. It’s where we are furthest behind. As far as our attack goes that’s been developing since we started together last pre-season.

    “We definitely started quite structured which I make no apologies for, and the more comfortable they get with knowing their roles we can loosen it. That will be a continuing evolution.”

    Taylor hopes the Tigers’ recruit from the Australian rugby sevens team, Jesse Parahi, may be fit to make a first appearance for the club in a trial against Cronulla at Campbelltown on Saturday after missing the first trial when he rolled his ankle in the captain’s run on Friday.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/wests-tigers/wests-tigers-coach-jason-taylor-happy-to-give-luke-brooks-time-20160214-gmtqq7.html#ixzz40IuVYu5r
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  • All the usual preseason fluff, but Taylor is right on Brooks, he is still a young kid playing the hardest position on the field and he is getting better and will get much better over the next few years.

    We just have to keep our fingers crossed that he decides to stay on for another four years, I would be really shattered if the cheque book club steal our talent, but i guess the ball is in our court to make our club a desirable location and of course offer them good money



  • @supercoach:

    All the usual preseason fluff, but Taylor is right on Brooks, he is still a young kid playing the hardest position on the field and he is getting better and will get much better over the next few years.

    We just have to keep our fingers crossed that he decides to stay on for another four years, I would be really shattered if the cheque book club steal our talent, but i guess the ball is in our court to make our club a desirable location and of course offer them good money

    Agree SC - the make or break year talk I think is bandied around because of the money he is reportedly on or about to be on - which some dont think he is worth yet. We wont retain anyone of quality if we dont except the market value ( especially halves), keeping in mind that there is always an element of risk with any player signed, which all clubs have to deal with.



  • Pretty spot on but I want to see a marked improvement especially defensively ,this area has to improve.



  • @Snake:

    Pretty spot on but I want to see a marked improvement especially defensively ,this area has to improve.

    As I have said before,our young guns know how to attack,we have seen it on many occasions…hence last year we had our affectionately termed " Taylor ball" so they could learn to defend,JT makes no apology for having to instill the defensive structures into their young heads,this is what NRL is all about …score points and learn how to defend a lead and keep the opposition to very limited points if none at all…the sooner they learn how to defend,the better chances we have of playing finals football…once again this is my opinion …take it or leave it…cheers…



  • For all this talk of improved defence, I want to see a massive difference this year. We’ve had one year to bed in the rookies and new structures, we’ve made additions to the FG squad - no more excuses.
    St George are another team that really prioritised their defence last season, and duly improved their PA figure by over 20%. Measuring similarly, we improved by 10%.
    We’ll need to improve again by 20% or so if we want to make the 8 - St George have shown that it’s possible without a squad overhaul. Up to JT and the boys.



  • Just heard Brooks and Mosses talk on CH9 news….they were obviously asked about their contract…neither wanted to say whether they are keen to stay with the club…Brooks was all about
    "gotta do whats best for myself " one liners… Guess loyalty and a desire to form a long lasting partnership with Mosses has gone out of the game even for a 21yo…Prince/Marshall didn’t do it…I guess these 2 wont either…



  • More to do with maximising their next contract as well as the coaching issue.



  • @tigerap:

    Just heard Brooks and Mosses talk on CH9 news….they were obviously asked about their contract…neither wanted to say whether they are keen to stay with the club…Brooks was all about
    "gotta do whats best for myself " one liners… Guess loyalty and a desire to form a long lasting partnership with Mosses has gone out of the game even for a 21yo…Prince/Marshall didn’t do it…I guess these 2 wont either…

    Brooks is not going anywhere….don’t believe what you read.



  • Brooks is not a natural in front of the camera.

    He would be coming up with all the cliches.

    He would say exactly what his management want him to say to get maximum value out of the next deal.

    Anyway, Taylor is right Brooks is coming along fine. Im guilty myself on being hard on him you forget where guys like Thurston, Cronk and Cherry evens were when they were 20.



  • He has a fair bit to improve on.
    1. Defence.
    2. Passing game ( far too many forward passes ) 😮
    3. Needs to take charge and play smart footy to win us those tight games.
    4. Needs to improve his kicking game.
    I do expect a big improvement from him in 2016.


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