Shifting Realities





  • Shifting reality as Wests Tigers’ pitch to Tui Lolohea goes up in smoke with Connor Watson arrival

    Ben Glover
    June 27, 2017 12:41pm
    BEN GLOVER@glover_benny
    Source: FOX SPORTS


    “IVAN had that specific pathway for me and told me the opportunity was mine if I wanted it, and I had to grab it.’’

    Just a month later, the “pathway” that sold the Wests Tigers to talented 22-year-old Tuimoala Lolohea might just have been blown up.

    In-demand Roosters young gun Connor Watson looks set to be announced as the latest signing in a blitz to rebuild a club flattened by its failure to get its three best players — Aaron Woods, James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses — to stay long-term.

    The Auckland Nines player of the tournament has been lured on a contract reported to be as lucrative as $600,000-a-season, with Watson to play fullback in a revamped spine that will also include Josh Reynolds, Luke Brooks and promising young hooker Jacob Liddle.

    Imagine the shock for Lolohea, who was in Watson’s shoes, languishing between the bench and reserve grade at the Warriors before Ivan Cleary’s pitch convinced him of his next home, when he could have chosen to be Johnathan Thurston’s understudy at the Cowboys instead.

    “I finally realised I wasn’t enjoying footy playing on the wing,’’ Lolohea told The Daily Telegraph, in his first interview as a Tigers player.

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    Connor Watson is set to join the Roosters.
    Connor Watson is set to join the Roosters.
    Source: News Corp Australia

    “It’s a bit tough, I’ve been all over the place in first grade playing different positions, and I finally came to a point where I had had enough of it.

    “I wanted to play in a position I could get better and learn and focus on that position.”

    Tedesco’s exit to join the Roosters next year was meant to give Lolohea his big opportunity as the Tigers’ next long-term No.1 after he signed a deal to keep him at Concord until the end of 2019.


    Ironically, Tedesco’s move could ultimately come back to bite Lolohea, with Watson poised to get a release from the Roosters because his pathway into first grade is blocked by the arrival of the NSW fullback.

    Ben Ikin, Nathan Ryan and Ben Glover discuss the Cowboys’ Thurston succession plan and the Ben Hunt effect at the Broncos and Dragons.



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    The Tigers aren’t paying Lolohea the sort of money Watson is set to arrive on and he wouldn’t be coming if a starting position in the spine hadn’t been promised.

    Lolohea looks to have again been struck again by the utility curse, which stalled his career at the Warriors and is likely to shuffle him either on to a wing or back to the bench at the Tigers.

    It’s a long way from the phone call he received from Cowboys coach Paul Green and messages he was getting from Jason Taumalolo in an attempt to convince him to take his talents to Townsville.

    Add the Dragons and the Raiders to the list of parties interested in resurrecting Lolohea’s career and the 22-year-old could be excused for wondering how he’s got himself back to square one.


    Forward pass of the year?Forward pass of the year?0:23

    THE UTILITY CURSE

    The fleet-footed Kiwi isn’t the only NRL player in the formative stages of his career to suffer from the utility tag.

    Think Clint Gutherson over at the Eels, who has been arguably Parramatta’s best player this season, despite being shifted from the halves to fullback to centre and back to fullback again.

    In a remarkable effort, Gutherson is in with a shout of winning the Dally M Medal this year but despite his stunning form and his promising combination with Corey Norman, the Eels paid big money to get Moses after the Tigers took a lucrative contract extension off the table.

    Gutherson, 22, is contracted to the Eels until 2019 but the Moses signing has shrouded his positional future in uncertainty, with Bevan French only recently endorsed by coach Brad Arthur as the club’s long-term fullback.

    Having recently returned from injury, French has been switched back to the wing with Arthur keen to get Gutherson’s hands on the ball as much as possible but that’s not to say Parramatta’s long-term spine has been locked in.

    Clint Gutherson was shifted out of the halves to accommodate Mitchell Moses.
    Clint Gutherson was shifted out of the halves to accommodate Mitchell Moses.
    Source: News Corp Australia
    The difference between Gutherson and Lolohea is that the Eels player wasn’t signed under the pretence that he would be a half or fullback.

    Lolohea’s situation demonstrates how cutthroat the NRL can be, with Watson’s signing an opportunistic move from Cleary, who clearly believes it will make his spine stronger.

    The Roosters have become the masters of opportunism, with Watson stripped of the opportunity to be the club’s long-term No.6 after Trent Robinson and his recruitment team got a whiff of Luke Keary’s dissatisfaction at the Rabbitohs and swooped.

    After Watson’s sparkling performance at the Nines, the move for Keary was put under the spotlight but with Robinson’s side sitting second and in with a big chance of a premiership that debate has been proven moot.

    That will be cold comfort to Lolohea as he ponders his position — once again an outsider in his battle to prove his worth in an NRL spine.



  • I think Brooks should be the one looking over his shoulder more so than Lolohea.



  • @:

    I think Brooks should be the one looking over his shoulder more so than Lolohea.

    That’s what I think too. Lolohea is out of shape and clearly down on confidence but there is absolutely no doubting his ability and potential. Brooks on the other hand…the jury’s out. But i’ve seen nothing from him since his first season to suggest he’s going to make a strong first grade halfback. Hope i’m wrong.



  • Looks like we may (finally) get some competition for spots. Should be a good incentive for him to get fit.

    Everyone wins.



  • @:

    Looks like we may (finally) get some competition for spots. Should be a good incentive for him to get fit.

    Everyone wins.

    X2



  • Yep my point exactly. We haven’t had enough competition in enough spots over the last few years to make a class team - i can finally see that we are heading in that direction. (Hopefully, no lounge chair rides or automatic selections based on every criteria other than the one thats counts - performance for the team on the field.



  • @:

    @:

    Looks like we may (finally) get some competition for spots. Should be a good incentive for him to get fit.

    Everyone wins.

    X2

    x3.

    No guarantees, I am guessing Cleary wasn’t dumb enough to guarantee anyone anything. Lolo plays well and he forces he way into the team. He doesn’t and we finally have options.

    Also the upside of guys like Lolo and Watson, they can genuinely cover more than 1 backline position.

    If Lolo went to Townsville he could be in exactly the same position as potentially he is at Tigers - maybe the Cowboys would not have signed TMM, but maybe they would have, and he’d still be looking at a 2018 first-choice spine of Coote-Morgan-Thurston-Granville.



  • @:

    Looks like we may (finally) get some competition for spots. Should be a good incentive for him to get fit.

    Everyone wins.

    Composition for all playing positions - that’s the way Wests Tigers supporters like it,



  • How about Reynolds at lock? Then everyone plays!



  • Wests Tigers signing shafts star recruit Tuimoala Lolohea
    JUNE 27, 20171:30PM


    Young chook off to Tigers?

    news.com.au

    THE Wests Tigers bus appears to be heading in two different directions.
    The club on Monday reportedly picked up Connor Watson on a deal that will see the promising star break his contract with the Roosters one year early to link with the Wests Tigers next season.

    The Tigers have reportedly signed Watson under the pretence the 21-year-old will step into James Tedesco’s No. 1 jumper next season — when the Blues fullback moves to the Bondi club.
    Watson has reportedly been offered a bumper deal worth up to $500,000 per season, but Channel 7 reported on Monday night the promise of a spot in the starting 13 of an NRL club was the driving reason behind his departure.
    The elephant in the Tigers’ sheds is that star recruit Tuimoala Lolohea was given the same promise just two months ago when the Tigers signed him as their long-term fullback option to replace Tedesco.


    Making the situation even more awkward was the public declarations Lolohea made that he moved to the Tigers from the Warriors because coach Ivan Cleary promised him the chance to play at five-eighth or fullback.
    Since then the club has also signed Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds as part of their spending spree since it was announced Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses would be leaving.
    The Tigers have picked up Russell Packer, Ben Matulino and Taane Milne as well.
    With Moses moving to the Eels, Lolohea has been moved to five-eighth before he was initially expected to return to the No. 1 jumper next year. Now, Watson is grabbing for the same jumper.




    Lolohea suddenly finds himself at the exact same position that saw him fall out of favour and dropped from the Warriors at the start of the year.

    Suddenly, Ivan Cleary’s words to his star recruit must be sounding pretty empty from where Lolohea is sitting.
    “One thing I took into consideration [coming to the Tigers] was a better pathway for me,” Lolohea said of his decision to join the Tigers.
    “Ivan has given me a pathway to play in the halves and he’s not expecting to chuck me in there and do some magic. He’s going to let me build my game. That kind of sold it for me. The pathway was a better opportunity for me.”
    Awkward.


    “No more in the outside backs. I didn’t play there in my career coming through as a young fella. Ivan has given me a chance to play in a position and make it mine for the rest of the year.”
    He told The Daily Telegraph earlier this month his inability to find a specific role in the Warriors’ backline was his reason for asking for a release.
    You can only imagine how awkward it must be now.
    “I finally realised I wasn’t enjoying footy playing on the wing,’’ Lolohea said.
    “It’s a bit tough, I’ve been all over the place in first grade playing different positions, and I finally came to a point where I had had enough of it. I wanted to play in a position I could get better and learn and focus on that position.
    “Ivan had that specific pathway for me and told me the opportunity was mine if I wanted it, and I had to grab it.’’
    It seems he has not grabbed it hard enough.
    The awkwardness of the situation has not been lost on NRL fans.
    The Wests Tigers’ front office has recently been heavily criticised for its handling of football and commercial operations. The signing of Watson, despite the Roosters star being a hugely talented prospect, does not reflect well on the Tigers front office.

    What. so people haven’t heard of depth on a roster and competition for spots - also i am sure nobody is “promised” anything - -

    Notice it isn’t signed off by anyway - hack piece to the extreme - i always say to myself not to read DT drivel but unfortunately i keep coming on back like an idiot……



  • What a beat up. His first paragraph quote tells us all that there is no story and the rest is just dribble.



  • But it’s O.K. for Roosters, who have very little numbers of juniors, to splash cash, unaccounted for in their CAP, in order to build up their reserve depth with star players. Whoever wrote this article must have received a brown paper bag of the type which commonly do the rounds around Bondi.



  • I hope that any story published by a supposedly reputable news paper that isn’t “signed off” is treated for the peace of excrement it is. So bad no one wants his/her name against it Also no comments allowed. Laughable.



  • @:

    I hope that any story published by a supposedly reputable news paper that isn’t “signed off” is treated for the peace of excrement it is. So bad no one wants his/her name against it Also no comments allowed. Laughable.

    Im guessing these turds just play the stats, if we have the most supporters, then a tigers story would get the most clicks and shares.

    Its turd dished up on a plate for morons.


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