Work needed but Tigers look good for 2017 http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/link/63b4647aec83770e7f714f57ddc4ff22?domain=newscorpaustralia.com
THE Tigers battled on amid a host of injuries and off-field problems and still managed to come within one game of the semi finals.
This season was a great leap forward for players like Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks, with Moses in particular beginning to look like the kind of player many hoped he can be.
It was something of a transitional season for the joint venture as they began to shed the last vestiges of the Tim Sheens era and there were some growing pains — like the 60-6 belting at the hands of Canberra in April — but this is a team on the up.
The Tigers came close to finals football but fell one win short.
This was a team who were expected to challenge for the wooden spoon but managed to stay in contention until the final day of the regular season and if James Tedesco, who clearly emerged as their best player this year, was still around they could have scraped through to September. However, you’d be a fool to assume that the Tigers finish on the ladder is cause for nothing but smiles and sunshine.
Conceding fifty points when your season is on the line is unforgivable and the Tigers meek display at a sold out Leichhardt Oval left a bad taste in the mouth in a season that saw them come so far. A finals appearance may have simply taped over the cracks. While the talent is emerging and the promise is undeniable, there is still much to be done.
BY THE NUMBERS
MOST TRIES; TEDESCO, NOFOALUMA 14
MOST TRY ASSISTS; MITCHELL MOSES 22
MOST ERRORS; MITCHELL MOSES 36
MOST TACKLES; ELIJAH TAYLOR 577
METRES GAINED; DAVID NOFOALUMA 3013
SUPERCOACH; DAVID NOFOALUMA 1377 (av 59.9)
It’s a toss up between Tedesco and Moses.
Tedesco had already revealed himself to be a star with his play last season and backed it up big time, running 14 tries and leading the club in line breaks with 16. He was also second at the club in tackle busts (92) and third in line break assists (10). Quite simply, he is a superb all-round footballer and very well could be the best fullback in the world.
James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses are stars on the rise.
Moses was more of a slow burner but over the final eight weeks of the competition he began to deliver on the potential that has been promised for so long. With teammates falling all around him Moses picked up the playmaking slack and churned out 23 try assists (the most at the club and fifth most in the NRL) and produced career highs in line breaks and line break assists.
If the Tigers can find themselves a good hooker to replace Robbie Farah they’ll be well positioned for a finals run next year.
THEY SAID IT
“We had two wins after eight games and to get ourselves in the position where it was in our hands whether we go on to play in the semi finals is great progress,” Tigers coach Jason Taylor said.
“We learned a lot about ourselves throughout the season and slowly but surely started playing a more controlled, more composed brand of footy that’s going to get us to semi finals down the track and wins NRL matches consistently.
“There’s enormous development for all of us. We’re a young team and we’ve got a great future. I’m really excited about that.”
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT?
OFF CONTRACT: Elijah Taylor, Rod Griffin, Chance Peni, Bayley Sironen.
LOSSES: Dene Halatau (retirement), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm), Manaia Cherrington (Sharks), Robbie Farah (released).
The Tigers 2017 finals hope hinge on the resigning of Elijah Taylor, who was superb once he joined the club from Penrith in the middle of the season.
Some renewed defensive intensity, ensuring that Taylor remains at Concord and finding a replacement for Dene Halatau at hooker (Matt Ballin and Jacob Liddle are the prime in-house contenders) are the key steps in ensuring that a finals charge in 2017 is possible for the Tigers.
The Tigers had a mixed season but things look brighter for 2017.