Scoring points was an issue for the Wests Tigers in 2018 and is the key area for improvement for a side with the longest finals drought in the Telstra Premiership.
While the overall defensive display was spirited and got the side into a position to challenge for the finals ahead of a ninth-place finish, the next step for new coach Michael Maguire is getting the side scoring enough points to have their destiny in their own hands.
The Wests Tigers scored 61 tries in 2018, the fewest of any team in the competition.
It continued a trend from 2017 when they managed just 70 tries to be ranked 15th ahead of only Canterbury.
One area that could improve the lack of points moving forward is the Tigers’ use of decoy runners.
The use of decoy running increased dramatically in 2018 with South Sydney the clear front-runners with 1483 across the season, followed by the Warriors on 1327.
Six clubs that played finals football also finished in the top eight for this statistic. Wests Tigers ranked last in 2018 with 1033.
The Rabbitohs were the best attacking team in 2018, scoring 98 tries at 4.1 per game. Compared to the Tigers, South Sydney had an additional 450 runners (18.8 per game) in motion towards a defensive line across 24 games.
The joint venture averaged a competition-low 2.5 tries per game, and they lost four games by two-point margins.
One obvious reason behind the Wests Tigers’ woes was the fact their attack was disjointed across the board with their spine constantly changing.
Dally M halfback of the year Luke Brooks was a mainstay in the No.7 jersey but had different teammates at five-eighth, hooker and fullback throughout the season.
The additions of Robbie Farah and Moses Mbye mid-season, whilst boosting the team’s talent, couldn’t fix the issue in the short term.
A full pre-season with the spine, and the return of Josh Reynolds from injury should give the Tigers a better opportunity to improve their point-scoring ability in 2019