Hagan writes - watch out for Wests

Michael Hagan

Premiership winning player and former State of Origin coach
Watch out for Wests
April 06, 2010Wests Tigers are one of my favourite teams in the NRL to watch. They are flamboyant, exciting and certainly less structured than a lot of clubs.

But since their 2005 premiership triumph, I can’t help but think they have lacked that certain steel it takes to compete with the game’s elite clubs.

Enter Steve Folkes.

Enticing the former Bulldogs coach to the Tigers has been a masterstroke by Tim Sheens.

They already look a different side to recent years.

In his role as strength and conditioning coach, Folkes has the Tigers looking more and more like the old Bulldogs, tough and uncompromising.

I thought Wests Tigers’ line speed against Canberra on Sunday forced a heap of errors from the Raiders.

Folkes has really given the joint venture club plenty of grunt.

I reckon Wests Tigers would have lost that game 12 months ago - but they scored 25 unanswered points to grab an unlikely two points.

In fact I truly believe they are top-four candidates.

I like the look of Tim Moltzen at halfback and I think Beau Ryan is one of the NRL’s most under-rated players.

They are young, fast and prepared to throw the ball around but this year they have a more determined look about them.

Lote Tuqiri has certainly added that touch of class to their backline. He is big, strong and experienced.

Chris Lawrence has bulked up over the off-season yet lost none of his speed and will surely be discussed by NSW selectors in coming weeks.

They have a few hard-heads up front too in Todd Payten, Bryce Gibbs and Gareth Ellis while Liam Fulton has returned from England and is running hard and straight on the edges.

Benji Marshall … what more can you say about this bloke?

And we shouldn’t forget Taniela Tuiaki - the game’s most powerful winger - is still to come back.

Wests Tigers are the real deal this year.

They have fallen away badly toward the end in recent years when the pressure has arrived but I don’t think that will happen in 2010. They look ready and they look hungry.

Pencil them in for a finals spot. And I for one wouldn’t want to be playing them in September.

…. are you excited or what… i know i am…

Alan Tongue reckons there’s more steel there too this year. So yeah there are some good signs but to well in this league things still need to pan out for you. Luck with injuries will play a big part and you only need to be 10% off and you can be belted ala the dogs last night.

@Tigerpete:

Alan Tongue reckons there’s more steel there too this year. So yeah there are some good signs but to well in this league things still need to pan out for you. Luck with injuries will play a big part and you only need to be 10% off and you can be belted ala the dogs last night.

This is what Tongue said as well:
‘‘Whether you play against them or you play for them or you support them or you don’t, it is still an exciting brand of footy to watch and I’ve always admired the skill that they’ve got right across the board,’’ Tongue told the Herald after the Tigers’ second-half comeback clinched them a 13-point victory.

‘‘I think everyone has seen the start to the year that they have had and Wests Tigers fans should be pretty excited about their team’s prospects.’’

Im excited … just a little.

There’s certainly a bit of steel there.

I think we’ve held a side tryless in 3 halves of footy this year (2nd half vs Manly, 1st half vs Parra, 2nd half vs Canberra) which is certainly saying something.

Yet despite that we’re still the 5th worse defensive side in the comp with points conceded.

So that says to me that yes we do have a bit of steel in our defence, but when we do have an off period, we gotta make sure we hang in and dont concede the amount of points we have.

It’s early days yet but the signs are positive. The Tigers were far from their best against the Raiders and did very well to play themselves back into the game in the second half. One thing I have noticed about the side is the fitness levels, they look to be the fittest team in the comp IMO. They are finishing games full of running and only really using 15-16 players.

The defence still needs work but I’m confident it will improve just like it did last year, and when it does, the Tigers will take a lot of stopping. Let’s see if the team can put together a more complete performance against the Cowboys. They will provide a different challenge in different conditions to what the Raiders did.

i think it is more to the fact we have simply carried on from how we ended last year.
we did win 7 of our last 9

@KingOvKingz09:

…. are you excited or what… i know i am…

Oh Yeah!..Like a Tiger!!!

Excited - YES
Confident - not yet. We need to get rid of the nanna naps that seem to crop up every game.

Folkes is definitely the buy of the year though.

if at end of season, there was an award for best new coaching staff member, Steve Folkes would have a great chance of winning.
its only early in season, i do hope we are as excited in 20 weeks time as we are now.
the mid season slump is biggest concern.
only time will tell, if that has been over come.

Sorry, the praise for Steve Folkes is really, really starting to frustrate me.

You have no evidence that he is the reason for the perceived turnaroun - I say perceived because as Bonstonker has pointed out, we won 7 of our last 9 last year.

so re u trying to tell me TimmyB that the tigers do not look fitter and stronger than they did last year?


your kidding

Well Manly and Canberra still physically dominated us in the first halves, so stronger? Not really. Fitter? Perhaps, but we’ve always been a team that comes into our own in the final period of a match.

I think it’s a placebo. Because you know we are coached by Folkes you believe we look fitter and stronger.

@TimmyB:

Well Manly and Canberra still physically dominated us in the first halves, so stronger? Not really. Fitter? Perhaps, but we’ve always been a team that comes into our own in the final period of a match.

I think it’s a placebo. Because you know we are coached by Folkes you believe we look fitter and stronger.

Do we?
I seem to remember us blowing a lot of leads going into the last 20 minutes.

Or not having the ticker to win when the match was even or there to be won.

@Jazza:

There’s certainly a bit of steel there.

I think we’ve held a side tryless in 3 halves of footy this year (2nd half vs Manly, 1st half vs Parra, 2nd half vs Canberra) which is certainly saying something.

Yet despite that we’re still the 5th worse defensive side in the comp with points conceded.

So that says to me that yes we do have a bit of steel in our defence, but when we do have an off period, we gotta make sure we hang in and dont concede the amount of points we have.

Good point that. I hadn’t picked that fact out but 3 halves keeping the opposition scoreless is impressive for this time of year. It shows we can do it, now to just become a little more consistent as a team, which will come in the weeks ahead. It’s ridiculous to think we could be at our best any time too soon but with a bit of luck we’ll continue to show signs of improvement as the season goes on.

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