Halfback Luke Brooks says he’s been given licence to run the Wests Tigers as his team during the 2018 NRL season.
The “big four” are no more and now Luke Brooks has been given the keys to the kingdom at Concord.
After a tumultuous 2017 which culminated in the departures of captain Aaron Woods (Canterbury), fullback James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters) and half Mitchell Moses (Parramatta) for greener pastures, the Wests Tigers promise to be a different side this NRL season.
And Brooks says the Tigers will very much be moulded in his image and they’re now his side to run.
Ex-Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds has been brought in to be his foil while veteran Benji Marshall will be his back up.
However, Brooks says it will be up to him to call the shots.
“That’s what (coach Ivan Cleary) wants; he wants me to take control of the side,” Brooks said.
“And Josh has said the same, he wants me to have control as a halfback and I can lead the team and he can play off the back of that.”
Cleary’s directive to take the wheel is music to the ears of the No.7, who has had to share control with the likes of Moses and Tedesco over his first five years of first grade.
Rewind 12 months and the Tigers’ Concord headquarters were a lot less settled than what they are today.
Speculation about the future of the so-called “big four” and then coach Jason Taylor fractured the joint-venture club last year.
Brooks said that it had shown on the field and they felt like they could finally get down to business.
“It’s a lot easier to be honest,” Brooks said.
"There hasn’t been stuff in the papers and if there has been, it’s all good stuff.
“That really affected us last year. This year we’ve been able to focus on training.”