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Brooks positive about new recruits, Marshall leadership
Wests Tigers Contributor
Sat 7 Mar 2020, 10:23 AM
Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks said his ever-growing partnership with Benji Marshall and the arrival of several new attacking weapons had him feeling positive for the year ahead.
A local junior of the club who will likely bring up his 150th game for the club in 2020, Brooks has seen a plethora of players come and go over the years since his debut back in 2013 but said there was something different about this pre-season.
Speaking with Big Sports Breakfast during the week, the 25-year-old was full of praise for co-captain Marshall in creating consistency within the club.
“I think Benji and I have a good understanding of each other’s game now,” he said.
"I feel like if one of us is in control, the other can do his thing and vice versa, so I do think we’ve got a good little combination there.
"He’s looking good for a 35-year-old, that’s for sure. He’s playing some good footy.
“For me, what I’ve learned over the past year or so with him is his leadership. I think he’s really taken that to another level — not just on the field but off it with what he brings to the club. He’s obviously a big name and everyone respects him around the club and I think I can take a lot learning from him.”
After finishing ninth the past two seasons, Brooks wasn’t shying away from the consistency that has hampered the side in recent years.
“Over the past two years we’ve gotten off to a good start and then through that middle third of the season we’ve slipped away and lost a few games in a row,” Brooks admitted. "If we can improve that and play our best footy throughout the whole year, I think that’ll put us in good stead to make the finals.”
Along with a change in attitude and consistency this year, Brooks was extremely upbeat about the change in personnel with the Leilua brothers, Billy Walters, Zane Musgrove and Adam Doueihi all standing out in the trial matches.
“Joey [Leilua] in particular has fit in really well," he said.
"Him and his brother are pretty inseparable so it’s good to have those two in the side. He played really good in the trial game against the Warriors — just with that ability to skittle players and break tackles.
"He’s that strike player we needed and him and [David] Nofoaluma running off the back of each other is going to be a big weapon for us.
“Billy’s a little pest but he’s been playing some good footy too," Brooks added. "He’s got that bit of deception that a number nine needs and that’s definitely going to take a bit of pressure off me and Benji.
"I’m looking forward to playing more footy with him.”
Wests Tigers will look to win their opening game of the year for the sixth season in a row when they take on the St. George-Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday, March 15.