James Tamou ensured every player on the bench high-fived every WT player coming from the field at half-time. It’s the little things.
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ON THIS DAY
Taniela Tuiaki - The Devastating Finisher
A selection of tries by devastating finisher Taniela Tuiaki. Complications from a serious ankle fracture forced the Wests Tigers winger and Kiwi international to retire from the game at the age of 28 on this day in 2011.
Tuki over the moon ahead of debut
Thu 15 Jul 2021, 10:37 AM
Tuki will never forget the moment he was told that he was making his NRL debut. With all the players and coaching staff gathered around, Michael Maguire read out the team list for Wests Tigers’ Round 18 clash against Brisbane.
The coach went through all the names — one by one.
With a single spot left on the bench, Maguire called out “Tuki Simpkins” — and the team went wild.
“When I heard my name called out, I was shocked and was like ‘was that my name?’ Simpkins said with a giant smile on his face.
“Zac Cini grabbed me and started shaking me — all the boys were going crazy and I loved it.
“I had no clue and I was so stoked and over the moon.”
Next up was an emotional call to his family, who live in Rotorua, New Zealand.
“I rung my parents straight after training and they were so happy,” he said.
“Mum was crying, and dad was over the moon. It was such a special moment.
“I know everyone at home will be watching at home on the TV. They’ll all get together and be proud of me — that’s still a special thing for me.”
Standing at 192cm and topping the scales at 105kg, the teenage edge forward is viewed as a rising prospect in rugby league having transitioned from rugby union New Zealand.
Simpkins was initially spotted at the 2016 New Zealand U/15s Rugby League National Championships and spent last year in the North Queensland system before moving to Sydney.
“This makes it all worth it now,” Simpkins said.
“When I first moved over from New Zealand I went through a homesick stage. All the sacrifices I’ve made are all worth it now.
“I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands. However long I get, I’m going to go my hardest and try to play my best footy. I want to keep a hold of this jersey.”
And to make it more of an occasion — he’ll be debuting alongside one of his closest mates at the club, Junior Pauga, who has been named to start at centre.
“It’s a pretty special moment for both of us to debut in the same game,” Simpkins said.
“We both lived in the Tigers house, we went to training together, we’ve done extras together.
“I’m happy for him to get his chance as well — it’s going to be pretty special to do it alongside him.”
Archer's cancer battle
It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Archer and his family to WT’S training last week. Archer has been battling an unknown cancer for the past 18 months and it was very special to see his face light up as he spent time with the players. ❤️❤️
RE: NSW Cup Team List: Round 13
Another player from WT’s undefeated Jersey Flegg side is set to debut in NSW Cup this weekend.
Teenage prop sensation Fonua Pole is named to debut off the bench. Has gone from Balmain SG Ball to Jersey Flegg to NSW Cup in 2 months. 👏
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RE: Team vs Manly Round 19
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has finalised his side for this evening’s Round 19 clash against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
As announced on Saturday, Maguire has been forced to make one change to the squad originally named during the week with Alex Twal ruled out with a shoulder complaint — allowing Alex Seyfarth to join the interchange bench.
Experienced utility Michael Chee Kam has been named as the side’s 18th man with Shawn Blore dropping out of the squad.
Seyfarth is a big yesssss for me
RE: Team vs Manly Round 19
Glad to see Mbye/MCK named 🥱
We played our best football last week with Mbye at 9. So not completely useless
Mate his service from hooker is snail paced slowwwwwww