HERE is the proof a Tiger really can changes its stripes.
Of the 35 players posing up in this Wests Tigers team photo just three years ago, only five — Luke Brooks, David Nofoaluma, Chris Lawrence, Kevin Naiqama and Sauaso Sue — remain at the joint venture.
The giant black, white and gold broom went right through Concord with the club’s biggest names moved along, including Robbie Farah to South Sydney, Aaron Woods to Canterbury, James Tedesco to the Sydney Roosters, Mitchell Moses and Nathan Brown to Parramatta and Marty Taupau to Manly.
The likes of Pat Richards, Dene Halatau and Tim Moltzen retired, Matt Lodge landed in hot water in New York before resurrecting his career in Brisbane, Tim Simona was banned for gambling and ripping off a charity, Keith Galloway and several others joined the Super League in England while a few others are now happy to run around playing park footy.
Tigers officials were always aware such a radical makeover would be painful but needed as they searched for long overdue success.
Manly had a roster overhaul in 2016 and returned to the finals this season.
Sue, who has not played finals football since he joined the Tigers six years ago, said it had taken some getting used to with so many new faces.
But he did not expect Ivan Cleary’s shake-up to take long to reap results, revealing how quickly new recruit Josh Reynolds and halfback Brooks had gelled on the training paddock.
“We’ve done a bit of ball movement already and Brooksy and Reynolds were straight into their shapes,’’ Sue told The Daily Telegraph.
“Josh Reynolds is such a good bloke. He’s been a joker at training, he’s been open and encouraging when we’re doing our fitness.
“He seems a good leader. I’m still waiting to see how he got his nickname ‘Grub’.
“There have been a lot of changes in recent years, in the coaching staff as well.
“It’s good getting to know everyone at training.
“We’ve got the talent, the experience with guys who have played finals footy, so hopefully they bring that experience to the club and share the love.’’
Reynolds, Chris McQueen, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Taane Milne are among the new Tigers recruits, while Benji Marshall also returns next week after leaving the club at the end of 2013, the season Sue debuted.
Now Sue has set himself the short-term goal of securing the one position and being in the starting side.
The 25-year-old was married in the off-season, which was the reason he told Samoan coach Matt Parish he would be unavailable for the World Cup.
Sue said that in the tournament his countrymen “had not played to their full potential, and they looked flat’’.
Off contract at the end of next year, Sue does not want to join the recent exodus, declaring: “I’m on the bus, 100 per cent.
“I’d love to be a one-club player. I just have to let my footy do the talking.’’