NRL 2017 The Roar season preview: Wests Tigers



  • NRL 2017 season preview: Wests Tigers

    , 20 Feb 2017 Keith Sheldon is a Roar Pro
    Jimmy Smith’s way-too-early NRL season 2017 predictions

    It only took over a whole chuffing season but it is finally over. Finally, we can watch a Wests Tigers game without the announcers mentioning the Farah and Taylor feud eight million times.

    Yes, Jason Taylor has finally axed Robbie Farah before Farah could do the same to him and now moves into 2017 with his focus on this young side of his.

    You know, I actually think 2016 was a good year for the Tigers. Yeah, they missed the eight, but they only just missed it and this was despite the antics of Farah and Taylor presumably distracting the playing group.

    James Tedesco stamped his class on the game while Mitchell Moses finally began to demonstrate his class and their young forwards started to show promise.

    However, they didn’t make the eight. Now that Farah has finally left the club that he has been so entwined in for all of these years, will the Tigers flourish like Jason Taylor has been claiming? Or will they once again fail to make the finals?

    Strengths
    James Tedesco. Do I even need to say anything else? He is the best fullback in the game and if you think otherwise, congratulations, you are wrong.

    He reminds me of a 2005-2008 Brett Stewart. He is stupidly fast but also has the ability and smarts to create point-scoring opportunities at a whim. A wonderful player who seems to have got over those injuries of his. The Tigers better hope he re-signs with them.

    As stated before, Mitchell Moses finally started to carry on in first grade in 2016. He still has the defensive capabilities of a wet noodle which will really needs to be sorted out if he wants to become a great player, but he is finally demonstrating his potential. He set up some brilliant tries last year and seemed to be getting more confident in attack each game.

    This is a relatively decent all-round pack. Last year saw the growth of a lot of the younger forwards into decent first graders. Aaron Woods may be a bit of a ‘stat fraud’ at times but he is still making all of those metres and tackles.

    I like their second row of Josh Aloiai, Chris Lawrence and Elijah Taylor who was excellent for the Tigers last year and probably their best buy of the season despite only being there for a couple of games.

    Unlike in the first half of the year I don’t think the bench will take too much away from this pack. It isn’t a world-beater pack but it sure isn’t useless like it was a few years ago.

    Weaknesses
    Jamal Idris is an incredibly frustrating player to watch play for your team. He can just be so damn lazy and disinterested in playing, so have fun with that, Tigers fans.

    Meanwhile, Jordan Rankin is not a winger. He is a below-average playmaker at best, but looks like with Tim Simona’s betting-related suspension he will be stuck playing on the wing, and he proved he is not a good enough winger with the positional problems and his errors under the high ball that he demonstrated last year.

    I have already praised Mitch Moses’s attack and criticised his defence. Now, I am going to criticise both the attack and defence of Luke Brooks. Ever since his admittedly great debut game, Brooks has completely stagnated in his development.

    He is barely a first grade half at this point. Heck, at a lot of clubs he wouldn’t be a first grade half, and he seems like he has a bit of an ego considering his rumoured ridiculous asking price to re-sign with the Tigers. He is not a good enough player to guide this team to success, in my opinion.

    Luke Brooks argues about having to leave the field with concussion

    But the biggest issue with this club seems to be the attitude of it.

    Last year, the Tigers could and should have made the eight, however when push came to shove they allowed themselves to be shoved. For example, in Round 26 they had a match against the Raiders with a chance to make the eight if they won.

    They let the Raiders score 52 points.

    And their display against Penrith two rounds earlier was equally as bad. And while they were missing Tedesco, that doesn’t excuse the terrible attitude of the club.

    Also, I have huge questions over their coach. He finally has the Farah-less squad he wanted, but Taylor really hasn’t demonstrated great form as a coach. It has to be shape up or ship out time for him, and I just think he isn’t a good enough coach to lead this side.

    Summary
    This is a club with a few talented players in it, but its cap management over the past few years has been bananas. They really need to make the eight this year, however I don’t think they will.

    Their culture problems, relatively weak backline and poor salary cap management are really going to come back to bite them this year. I have them finishing 12th, although I could see them landing anywhere from 14th-7th considering the logjam of teams in contention for those spots.

    Out of the ‘big four,’ I really hope they keep Moses and Tedesco at the very least for this club to have any future. They have all of the potential in the world, with Tedesco riding that potential and Moses finally beginning to grasp it.

    2016 finish: ninth
    Predicted 2017 finish: 12th

    Transfers
    Gains: Jamal Idris, Matt McIlwrick

    Losses: Josh Addo-Carr, Jack Buchanan, Josh Drinkwater, Asipeli Fine, Lamar Liolevave, Billy McConnachie, Jesse Parahi, Manaia Cherrington, Dene Halatau, Robbie Farah, Curtis Sironen, Chance Peni, Rod Griffin and potentially Tim Simona

    Full-strength team

    1. James Tedesco
    2. David Nofoaluma
    3. Jamal Idris
    4. Kevin Naiqama
    5. Jordan Rankin
    6. Mitchell Moses
    7. Luke Brooks
    8. Aaron Woods
    9. Matt Ballin
    10. Tim Grant
    11. Chris Lawrence
    12. Josh Aloiai
    13. Elijah Taylor
    14. Sauaso Sue
    15. Ava Suemanufagai
    16. JJ Felise
    17. Michael Chee-Kam


  • Hard to argue with what he has written, although I am not sure any other coach would have done much better over the past two years, but it is make or break year for Taylor. I think the Tigers have to win plenty of games in the first half of the year, because come SOO and the mid season grind it will become a lot harder to win games



  • I honestly fail to see how it’s make or break for Taylor. if you look at the ins and outs, it’s so clear to see he is hamstrung by prior management. one more year to judge him…and how good is our squad going to be with some spending money !?



  • No credibility, i thought he new what he was talking about when he said that “Rankin is not a winger” then he loses credibility when he claims he is a “below average play maker” so wrong he is at best a state cup playmaker. would even get a run in my local A grade team. 😲

    Sorry but i just don’t get why Rankin is even considered a chance of playing. So many youngsters with talent that should be given a shot on the wing instead of him out there. :brick:

    I hope he makes me eat my words but I’m confident I’m safe.



  • I think he is right I’m not expecting them to make the 8 as I think contract talks and the media speculation about if the big 4 are staying or heading off to different clubs will be a distraction but I hope I’m wrong



  • Why is Rankin in our ‘full strength’ squad…



  • @Tiger Come Lately:

    No credibility, i thought he new what he was talking about when he said that “Rankin is not a winger” then he loses credibility when he claims he is a “below average play maker” so wrong he is at best a state cup playmaker. would even get a run in my local A grade team. 😲

    Sorry but i just don’t get why Rankin is even considered a chance of playing. So many youngsters with talent that should be given a shot on the wing instead of him out there. :brick:

    I hope he makes me eat my words but I’m confident I’m safe.

    He had some good games, some serviceable games and some bad games in 2016. He wasn’t so much worse than every other player in our squad that he deserves the constant ridicule he gets on here. I don’t want him in the 17 but he’s nowehere near as bad as is made out and he is a play maker, not a winger and you’ve probably not seen 10 minutes of him playing in the halves that you can actually remember.



  • @Nelson:

    @Tiger Come Lately:

    No credibility, i thought he new what he was talking about when he said that “Rankin is not a winger” then he loses credibility when he claims he is a “below average play maker” so wrong he is at best a state cup playmaker. would even get a run in my local A grade team. 😲

    Sorry but i just don’t get why Rankin is even considered a chance of playing. So many youngsters with talent that should be given a shot on the wing instead of him out there. :brick:

    I hope he makes me eat my words but I’m confident I’m safe.

    He had some good games, some serviceable games and some bad games in 2016. He wasn’t so much worse than every other player in our squad that he deserves the constant ridicule he gets on here. I don’t want him in the 17 but he’s nowehere near as bad as is made out and he is a play maker, not a winger and you’ve probably not seen 10 minutes of him playing in the halves that you can actually remember.

    No your right i dont remember 10 mins of him in the halfs. if he was any good i would have remembered and thats my point. if he was a decent half then I’m sure someone on the forum or a known football judge would have said that he should be considered a replacement for brooks or moses. Maybe many have and i haven’t read, heard or seen?

    He is player in first grade and he is going to be judged against his peers by us plebs, IMO he isn’t going to get any better, realistically he is not a shot at a halfs position at the WT, is a 70 odd % goal kicker so why persist.

    Put someone like Suli in and give him a chance to gain experience.

    Im just not sure that the team gains that much from having him out there and we can gain so much more from giving a youngster a go.



  • I thought he a bit harsh. 12th could happen but I think we are more likely to sit between 10th and 5th. I guess I’m an optimist. There was another article that ranked our spine 9th. Our pack is OK. But with Simona out , we are lacking in the centres and outside backs.



  • Garbage.

    Have faith people!



  • Good article with honesty….I completely agree with his summation of Brooks,overhyped,overated and OVERPRICED…
    Rankin isn’t as bad as many seem,has been used and abused in so many positions he doesn’t know his real position…would be a brilliant state cupper now he is getting on…but he is also very knowledgable and experienced…



  • This is in my option a incorrect assessment of young Brook’s
    Look at his stats for last year, try assists, line breaks etc
    Sure he misses tackles, have a look at other NRL half’s & compare. No one remembers Darren Locker for the turnstile that he was through his career
    I am old enough to remember watching Joey John’s develop as a footballer. At the time I lived in Newcastle & he never became consistent game breaker until he was nearly 25
    I think We have a fine half in the making



  • Interested to know what our so called culture problems are considering we are ranked 2nd in player welfare.



  • Fairly accurate article.Lets hope that it is wrong but i pray to all gods that kev/rankin dont make the side often they are a liability.



  • The Roar is nothing more than an over-opinionated attempt at journalism… Dont waste your time visiting that place when we have the same opinions here every day.

    Wests Tigers Forum is the only creditable source for Wests Tigers News!!!


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