Wests Tigers’ best 17 for 2019: Can Michael Maguire make a finals team out of this roster?



  • Will Josh Reynolds finally claim the five-eighth jumper? Can Michael Maguire take the Tigers a step closer to playing finals footy? These are questions Tigers fans are itching to get the answers to.
    The 2018 season was a tough one for Tigers fans and players alike, with former coach Ivan Cleary making his intentions to return to Penrith clear, and with players constantly alternating in key positions that needed more consistency.

    Reynolds and Benji Marshall alternated in the five-eighth role, while Corey Thompson, Tuimoala Lolohea and Moses Mbye all spent time at fullback, causing instability in the spine. They finished the season just shy of the finals.
    It was followed by a chaotic off-season, which included being fined $750,000 by the NRL for alleged salary cap breaches, the deregistration of club CEO Justin Pascoe, and two players being charged with assault.

    The Tigers could do with some stability in 2019.

    This means locking in a long-term five-eighth to partner newly re-signed Luke Brooks, who is considered to be the future of the club.

    Reynolds is one of the highest paid players on the Tigers roster, sitting on around $750,000 a year — however, last year was not his year as he was sidelined for most of the season due to injury struggles and played just five games.
    Veteran Marshall replaced the 29-year-old alongside Brooks for the majority of the season — working up a strong combination in the halves.

    Maguire has a choice to make. He can either start planning for the future by pairing Reynolds and Brooks into the halves, or he can throw caution to the wind and keep Marshall in the No.6 jersey, transforming Reynolds into a utility.

    Whatever his choice, he’ll need to make it quickly.

    With their fifth coach in six years, the Tigers will be crying out for some consistency in 2019.

    The strength

    Although the Tigers fell just short of finals footy last season, Brooks’ performance didn’t go unnoticed, with the 24-year-old claiming the 2018 Dally M halfback of the year title.

    The playmaker made his debut in 2013 for the Tigers and has played 107 games since — making 24 appearances in 2018, during which he scored five tries, forced 21 drop outs, and averaged 226.8 kicking metres.

    The addition of Maguire to the head coach role puts Brooks in an even better position ahead of 2019.

    Demanding but able to get results, Maguire could be just the man to take Brooks, and subsequently the Tigers, to the next level.

    The premiership-winning coach has worked with many halves over his extensive coaching career and his inclusion to the jungle will help Brooks excel in his seventh season of first-grade.

    The pressure is on

    Michael Maguire. Leading the Tigers following the pre-season drama that engulfed them will be no easy task
    The drama surrounding alleged salary cap breaches and the deregistration of the club’s CEO would be enough to handle — add to it two accomplished five-eighths who both want the No.6 jersey.

    With Reynolds returning to training following an injury-plagued 2018, Maguire is faced with the difficult task of choosing between the man the club brought in to play five-eighth, and the man who comfortably resumed the position last year.
    After the horror few years the Tigers have endured — and not having played finals footy since 2011 — Madge will have to whip the team into shape quickly if he wants to prove that the Tigers really are just a ‘sleeping giant’.

    The rising star

    Thomas Mikaele. With immense speed and agility, the 21-year-old prop may just be the next big thing for the Tigers, already with a number of achievements under his belt.
    he New Zealand-born forward captained Keebra Park High School to the 2016 GIO Schoolboys Cup final and then joined the Wests Tigers Holden Cup side in 2017. From there, he was selected for the development squad in 2018 and was named in the under-20s Emerging QLD squad.

    Mikaele has progressed out of the development squad and in to the full-time training squad, making him eligible for first-grade selection this year.

    His size is his biggest asset. He stand 194cms and weighs 110kg, but has the agility of a much smaller player.

    The unlucky ones

    Jacob Liddle and Michael Chee-Kam. Liddle is an obvious replacement for veteran Robbie Farah once he retires, potentially at the end of 2019.
    He played more game time in 2018 while alternating with Farah at dummy half. However, with Reynolds looking increasingly likely to start the year from the bench, Liddle will lose his position.

    His contract is set to finish up at the end of this year and he’ll be looking to prove himself once and for all as Farah’s long-term replacement.
    Chee-Kam is another player who has the potential to make the 17, but a question mark hangs over his career following the alleged assault of a rideshare driver in the off-season.

    Chee-Kam faces two charges of assault, and his position in the 17 is under threat with the likes of Mahe Fonua and Paul Momirovski on hand in the centres and young players pushing through in the second row.

    It’s a big year for

    Josh Reynolds. After being sidelined for the majority of the 2018 season, he’s now looking to make his comeback in the No.6 jersey. The last time he donned it was Round 16.


    But with Marshall playing coy on retirement, fans are left scratching their heads trying to work out where Reynolds will fit into the side.

    Will Madge stick with the Brooks-Marshall combination that seemed to work and continue to play Reynolds off the bench, or will he look to secure Reynolds in the No.6 jersey in the hopes he is the key to bringing out the best in Brooks and solidifying a top-eight finish for the Tigers?

    At his best, Reynolds won a State of Origin series with New South Wales and helped guide the Bulldogs to successive finals series.

    The Wests Tigers are hoping to see the return of that same form in 2019.

    Wests Tigers’ best 17

    1. Moses Mbye

    2. Davis Nofoaluma

    3. Esan Marsters

    4. Mahe Fonua

    5. Corey Thompson

    6. Benji Marshall

    7. Luke Brooks

    8. Russell Packer

    9. Robbie Farah

    10. Ben Matulino

    11. Chris Lawrence

    12. Ryan Matterson

    13. Elijah Taylor

    14. Josh Reynolds

    15. Matt Eisenhuth

    16. Alex Twal

    17. Josh Aloiai



  • These strongest possible line ups are laughable. Particularly the benches. Ain’t no way grub is coming off the bench.



  • No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!



  • @:

    No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!

    Only 8 weeks? Awesome. Best news I’ve heard all day :slight_smile:
    This pre-season is dragging terribly.



  • Who made this list? Benji himself? Reynolds will be 6 come R1 imo.



  • @:

    No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!

    Agree with everything. And Reynolds at No. 6. Maybe separate Packer and Matulino, so they don’t come off at the same time and our leadership in the forwards drops. Maybe Mats on the bench, Twal starting?

    And Edit: Josh Aloiai on the bench? I hope he’s picked up in the preseason training, because from last year’s form imo he wouldn’t make the bench.


  • ForumSupporter

    Who wrote this…?



  • @:

    @:

    No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!

    Only 8 weeks? Awesome. Best news I’ve heard all day :slight_smile:
    This pre-season is dragging terribly.

    less actually :slight_smile: trial match on march 02



  • @:

    @:

    @:

    No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!

    Only 8 weeks? Awesome. Best news I’ve heard all day :slight_smile:
    This pre-season is dragging terribly.

    less actually :slight_smile: trial match on march 02

    Please let us know “Who wrote the article” and “Where did it come from” - thanks.



  • @:

    @:

    @:

    @:

    No mention of Zane Musgrove in that report, although there is a picture of him training at the lasteset preseason session … ??, and they mentioned Michael Chee-Kam and his charges.

    Still finding it hard to put Manu Fonua in our top 17, not 100% convinced with him yet … Paul Momirovski in my books would partner Marsters in centres. I’d also have Matterson at 13 … and have either Garner or Mikaele in the backrow over Taylor.

    Gawd I cant wait for the footy to start … 8 weeks to go … waahoo … !! Let’s go Tigers… !!

    Only 8 weeks? Awesome. Best news I’ve heard all day :slight_smile:
    This pre-season is dragging terribly.

    less actually :slight_smile: trial match on march 02

    Please let us know “Who wrote the article” and “Where did it come from” - thanks.

    fox sports- written by TALEASHA HEITEL-FREEMAN

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/teams/tigers/wests-tigers-best-17-for-2019-can-michael-maguire-make-a-finals-team-out-of-this-roster/news-story/7659b23c62127d94c858b98b733ee1d1



  • Need to bite the bullet and start with Grub at 6.
    No room for Elijah Taylor or Eisenhuth in the 17
    Marshall or Liddel on bench
    Would like to see Mikaele in the 17
    Would like to see Twal start…
    Momo to partner Marsters



  • @:

    Need to bite the bullet and start with Grub at 6.
    No room for Elijah Taylor or Eisenhuth in the 17
    Marshall or Liddel on bench
    Would like to see Mikaele in the 17
    Would like to see Twal start…
    Momo to partner Marsters

    Agree with all of this, but if Reynolds is 100% then it’s Liddle on the bench and Benji cutting oranges unfortunately.



  • @:

    @:

    Need to bite the bullet and start with Grub at 6.
    No room for Elijah Taylor or Eisenhuth in the 17
    Marshall or Liddel on bench
    Would like to see Mikaele in the 17
    Would like to see Twal start…
    Momo to partner Marsters

    Agree with all of this, but if Reynolds is 100% then it’s Liddle on the bench and Benji cutting oranges unfortunately.

    I agree and I think Reynolds is first choice 6. BUT …… didn’t Maguire try to entice Benji back into the NZ team. He must rate him



  • Marshall won’t start in front of grub.



  • @:

    Marshall won’t start in front of grub.

    I agree - but we don’t know.

    What wouldn’t surprise me is if Benji plays 17, moving to five-eighth with Reynolds giving Farah a spell. Not my preference, but a possibility.

    My preference would be a 4 forward bench.


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