Round 6 Press conferences

Kevin Naiqama:


Wests Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama says the team aren’t content with their strong start to the 2018 season despite knocking off a number of competition favourites already.

A second upset victory over the Melbourne Storm has Ivan Cleary’s side entrenched inside the top four after five weeks of the year, but for the Fijian international, it’s far from a perfect start to the year.

“To beat a quality side like the Storm twice already is a great thing and we’re happy about that,” he said.

"But as a playing group, we know we’re still far off from what we want to be and what we want to achieve,

"We’re just going to keep working hard to be the team that we want to be moving forward.

"Obviously it’s a good vibe here — when you’re winning it’s always good. But I think everyone is just enjoying their footy and all the new numbers to the squad have really brought a lot to us.

“They’ve been really good additions for the team and also the morale too.”

Malakai Watene-Zelezniak:


Josh Aloiai:


Josh Reynolds:


Wests Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds says he’s chomping at the bit to return from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for the first five weeks of the year.

Set to make his club debut in Round 1 before picking up an injury at the final training session, Reynolds will finally get the chance to wear his new colours on Sunday when he takes to the field at Lottoland.

And after spending a month on the sidelines, the five-eighth says it’s something he’s not taking for granted.

“I was stoked when Ivan told me I’d be back in first-grade,” Reynolds said.

"I feel pretty privileged, to be honest because I know I’m coming in to a red hot team.

"The boys are going really good and defending their backsides off, so for him [Ivan] to have that trust in me to come straight back in and fill a role is pretty special and I definitely let him know about that.

"Not for one second did I think I would be a shoo-in back in to the starting team, or even in the team at all.

“I’m pretty lucky and I’ve probably been overly excited about it all, but I don’t care.”

A chance to return last week against the Melbourne Storm, Reynolds said the extra week on the sidelines had not only helped his hamstring, but also his attitude to see the team going so well.

“I probably went on the cautious side and could have played last weekend,” he said.

"But in the end, I’m really glad that I did take that extra week.

"I’ve been running around really excited at training and feeling really free with it all.

“For me, I came here as a new player trying to prove myself and unfortunate circumstances happened where I couldn’t play Round 1 and Benji and Brooksy started playing some good footy,” he continued.

"So for me, who am I to come in and play straight away? I’m nobody, really.

"My attitude is the exact same: play hard and work hard on my game and maybe one day I will be five-eighth. But for now, I’ve just got to nail my role and nail by job out there for the team.

“I honestly just want to do whatever I can in my power to help those boys.”

Good to see everyone saying the right thing and knowing there is still a lot of work to do. We need to use this game to show that we mean business and plan to be playing football deep into September this year.

Jacob Liddle:


Wests Tigers young gun Jacob Liddle says he’s determined to make the most of his starting spot after working hard to earn the position over the season so far.

The crafty playmaker, who only returned from off-season shoulder surgery in Round 4, says he’s excited by the opportunity presented to him by Ivan Cleary this week with just the fourth start of his career.

“It’s a massive one for me,” Liddle enthused ahead of this week’s game.

"I’ve been hoping to get that opportunity and to start in the number one so hopefully I can play well.

"It’d be really great for me if I was able to cement that starting spot.

“It’s a little different than coming off the bench; the energy you need at the start is big because the first 10 minutes of the game are probably the hardest. You’re not coming on when the players are tired so you really need to hit hard and I guess just be on your game from the moment it kicks off.”

After another full pre-season under his belt and his first under Coach Cleary, Liddle says there’s subtle improvements in his game that he feels is being noticed by the coaching staff and playing group.

“I don’t think there’s as much a change in my game, just what I’ve done in the pre-season,” he said.

"I’m a little bit stronger and a little bit faster and fitter too and I think that’s helping.

“I’ve learned lots in the off-season with Ivan and things away from my running game too which is great.”

Yep a nice vibe coming out of the club. Here is hoping the only ‘crisis’ to hit the club this year is the ball boy wore his socks inside out lol

Really liking Reynolds attitude, actually can’t wait to see him run out in the Tigers colours.

I hope him Brooks and Benji combine to lay on a try (or three) just to see the reaction and celebration.
Pumped for this one, a little nervous but pumped.

Is it Sunday yet?

Reynolds really blew me away with his comments there. I liked the guy before but now I can’t wait to see him in tiger colours. Such a selfless attitude , how refreshing compared to what we had to put up with last year. No player is bigger than the club and Reynolds is this new tigers culture. Well done tigers coaches and players for this wonderful attitude. Win, lose or draw I don’t think I could be upset with this team.

Very impressed with Aloiai - very quietly spoken young man who really appears to have a great attitude. It will be interesting to watch his development over the next 2 or 3 years. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a ‘C’ beside his name in years to come. (Especially if we still have 5 of them in the squad)!

No taming Tiger Grub’s hunger for No. 6 jersey
By Christian Nicolussi
11 April 2018 — 4:44pm

Josh Reynolds knows he isn’t being paid north of $3 million to wear the Wests Tigers No. 14 jersey.

But given the Tigers trailblazing start - and the way Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks have instantly hit it off in the halves - the man they call Grub is just relieved to earn a bench spot.

Reynolds will finally run out in the Tigers jersey on Sunday for the Manly clash over at Brookvale Oval after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Just when and where Reynolds will be used against the Sea Eagles remains a mystery.

Turning 29 on Friday, the birthday boy has been told by coach Ivan Cleary to be ready to slot into his preferred five-eighth role as well as time at dummy-half.

"I feel lucky enough to get straight back into the team,’’ Reynolds said on Wednesday. "I’m coming back into a team that is going so well, and Ivan has put trust in me straight away. That’s a win for me.

"[But] I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get there [in the No. 6] eventually.

"I didn’t sign to be the No. 14. Circumstances have happened and you have to go with whatever happens.

"At the moment, I want to do what is best for the team. I have to nail my role. I just want to get out and play footy. I’m so happy to be back in the game, and there’s a different feeling because you’re getting ready for a game, and not in rehab.

"I’m a bit nervous, but they are good nerves. People don’t realise I haven’t played a game yet for the Tigers.

"The way we’re playing, we’ve got structures, but we’re playing off the back of good carries and playing fast footy, and it suits me. I’ll get out there and have fun.’’

Reynolds has always been a big team man, which made him so loved by his former teammates at the Bulldogs, and even to the point former skipper James Graham offered to take a pay cut to keep the Canterbury junior at Belmore.

It was almost a year ago Dogs fans were shattered when Reynolds was virtually cut loose and swept up by the Tigers on a whopping $3.2 million four-year deal.

Reynolds broke down with a hamstring injury during one of the final drills of the captain’s run on the eve of the Roosters clash. He quipped he was going to ask Cleary to skip Saturday’s final tune-up to avoid a possible repeat.

Marshall, 33, replaced Reynolds in the halves, and his ability to bring the best out of Brooks has been impossible to ignore.

Tigers fans would have hoped Marshall still had a bit of magic left in his ageing legs, but no way envisaged his early form.

Reynolds, however, anticipated the club pin-up to burst out of the blocks after his summer preparation.

The Tigers have won four of their opening five games, including two victories over premiers Melbourne, and Cleary has the decent headache of how to mix and match his three playmakers.

Brooks’ running game has been nothing short of brilliant, and Reynolds, also a noted runner of the ball, said there was no reason the similar styles would clash.

"Brooksy is not just running, he’s setting up plays, he’s taking his opportunities when they are there for him,’’ Reynolds said.

"In past he may have pre-planned when he was going to run, but now he’s seeing the opportunities and just taking it.’’

Reynolds said he could have returned last week against the Warriors, but had in the past been guilty in the past of wanting to rush his comebacks.

I have been watching Reynolds on the side line since round 1. He has been just chomping at the bit. Living every moment with the players on the field and supporting the team. Can’t wait to see him run out in Sunday.

Thx Tack for posting…

My Dogs Mates love this guy. I love his attitude thus far.

I worry about the 4 year deal a tad especially if hes turning 29 this month.

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