The other Big League article i was referring to from the Big League……i have to type it up.
You’re the voice
Why young half Luke Brooks is ready to rumble in 2016.
By Matt Logue
There is a reason why Wests Tigers players call Luke Brooks ’ the silent assassin '.
Sheepish in social settings yet confident on the footy field , Brooks is a walking contradiction.
Everyone at the club will tell you Brooks is reserved by nature, but he sent shock waves through the camp this summer when he was coming to training and saying nothing . Zilch.
Coach Jason Taylor admits he was alarmed by Brooks ’ discreet demeanour.
" I was worried if Brooksy was OK," Taylor says.
" I spoke to a couple of the players like Woodsy ( Aaron ) who agreed, but then i spoke to Luke about it and he was just focused . That’s really good , because this is the NRL and even if you’re talented it doesn’t just happen for you .
" He’s focused about what he needs to do to set himself up for a good season ."
Since his dominated debut against the Dragons in 2013, Brooks has been faced with expectation. It’s a standard he has struggled to consistently match , playing in a Wests Tigers side that has under-achieved for seasons.
Coming off a Round 1 suspension, Brooks knows it’s time to get serious.
BURDEN OF PRAISE
Who could forget when immortal Andrew Johns hailed Brooks one of the game’s most promising players in 2013?
It was a massive rap for an emerging half who considers Johns his chidhood hero.
" It obviously makes you feel good, but it adds pressure," Brooks says.
" Joey is one of my idols . I loved watching him play, i try to base my game on his .
" But I’ve tried not to look into ( the praise ) too much."
Brooks may be content to play down the pressure, but halves partner Mitch Moses has slammed the hype that’s plagued his close mate.
" Everyone put big pressure on Luke , which isn’t right," Moses says.
" But i don’t think it affected him much because he doesn’t look into it. He handled it well last year, even with all the criticism.
" He still went out on the field and did his best, week-in and week-out."
Coach Taylor admits that he doesn’t understand the world of social media , but he can provide Brooks with insights form 21 years of NRL experience.
" I’ve told Brooksy reading the media isn’t going to help," Taylor says.
" You’re never going as good or as bad as they say you are. It’s not something that you want to digest too much of as a young player."
COMING OUT OF HIS SHELL
James Tedesco will never forget meeting Brooks on his first day at training back in late 2012.
" You wouldn’t hear anything out of Brooksy," Tedesco recalls. It was his first year out of school and he was training two days a week in the NRL and NYC.
" He was so quiet that you didn’t know what he was thinking or what he was going to say, but then he’d come to training and carve up and you’d think, ’ who is this kid ? "
Standing next to Brooks during those initial months at Wests Tigers was Moses.
The pair started out in the juniors at Holy Cross Rhinos together, before working their way through the Wests Tigers ’ ranks .
Moses has fond memories of Brooks being reserved as a rookie, but says his quiteness now is for very different reasons.
" Luke’s changed a lot and he’s made the halfback role his own," he says.
" You’ll see a different Luke this season , he’ll be more relaxed. Last year we were a bit frantic at times, but that will change."
Brooks agrees with Moses, vowing to deliver more consistency throughout the season.
" I’ve become a more experienced player, which can only help me and the team." he says.
" I used to be pretty quiet, but the more i hang around the boys, the more comfortable i am ."
As Tedesco can attest, Brooks now has the self-belief to take charge.
" Brooksy used to be so quiet on the field that we’d have to tell him to call a play," he recalls.
" But now he’s telling everyone where to go and what to do . That’s what you need from your halfback."
Thankfully for Wests Tigers, the silent assassin has found his voice.
So there you have it Lads…a good read .