The Contenders: Fullback

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willow
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The Contenders: Fullback

Post by willow » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:12 pm

Courtesy of the official Wests Tigers website:

The Contenders: Fullback
Author Dan Talintyre Timestamp Tue 12 Dec 2017, 09:17 AM

The battle for spots will be at an all-time high at Wests Tigers in 2018, with Coach Ivan Cleary putting together an extremely strong squad.

With 10 brand new faces “on the bus” for the year ahead and a great mixture of youthful talent and experience in the midst, the team that takes to the field in Round 1 against the Roosters will be vastly different from the one that ended 2017 at Leichhardt Oval against the Warriors.

In our "The Contenders” series, we take a look at those who will battle it out for spots in 2018, and the intriguing decisions that lie ahead for Cleary in selecting a team for Round 1!

First up, we look perhaps the most intriguing position for Wests Tigers heading in to 2018 —fullback. James Tedesco’s departure has opened up a spot in what is shaping as a highly contested backline for the year ahead, and there are a number of strong candidates in contention...

TUIMOALA LOLOHEA

Age: 22

NRL Games: 65

At Wests Tigers since: 2017

Having made the transition from New Zealand to Australia midway through 2017 with aplomb, Lolohea is seemingly the front-runner for the vacant fullback position heading into the 2018 season. The electric playmaker showcased throughout the year with Wests Tigers and again at the World Cup with Tonga his skills through the middle of the field, with his support play in particular worth noting for a potential move to the back. Lolohea is certainly familiar with the number one jersey, having played 22 matches at the back in his career, as well as a Test match for Tonga in 2015, and his strong playmaking ability mixed with his good running game makes for an intriguing prospect. An endorsement from teammate Benji Marshall certainly doesn’t hurt his cause, either!


KEVIN NAIQAMA

Age: 28

NRL Games: 92

At Wests Tigers since: 2015

Kevin Naiqama displayed his versatility on more than one occasion for Wests Tigers in 2017, playing every position in the backline and on both sides of the field throughout the year. In particular, Naiqama played at fullback when Tedesco was away on State of Origin duties, and certainly looms as a contender for the number one jersey as a result of that. The Fijian international captained the Bati to a remarkable semifinal berth at the recent Rugby League World Cup from fullback, and also has NRL experience at fullback for both Newcastle and Wests Tigers. Naiqama’s tireless work ethic and high fitness levels certainly make him an appealing candidate for the vacant number one jumper.


COREY THOMPSON

Age: 27

NRL Games: 35

Super League Games: 52

At Wests Tigers since: 2018

One of two players arriving at Wests Tigers in 2018 from Super League with NRL experience, Corey Thompson’s claims for the fullback position in 2018 stem from the fact that he most recently played the position of any player in the squad. Thompson featured at the back for Widnes Vikings in the 2017 Super League campaign, and while primarily considered a winger, the 28-year-old showed himself to be a good addition out the back with three tries in seven games. The former Bulldog will certainly feature in the “Wingers” article of our Contenders series more than he does here, but there’s still a good argument to be made for Thompson about why he’d be just fine for the No.1 jersey.


DAVID NOFOALUMA

Age: 24

NRL Games: 87

At Wests Tigers since: 2013

While Nofoaluma has himself played down the notion of filling in at fullback, he sneaks on to this list as a bit of a dark horse option. Let’s be real — Nofoaluma will almost certainly start on the wing in Round 1 after another superb season of improvement that left him as one of the best wingers in the game — but the local junior does have fullback history in him, having grown up playing fullback through the grades. Nofoaluma also moved to the back in the latter stages of the 2015 season when Tedesco was sidelined with a broken jaw, with his power running game helping the team on kick returns and also in attacking positions. It would certainly be a surprise to see the winger don the number one jersey come Round 1, but it wouldn’t be the craziest idea out there given his proven ability and inherent talent as a footballer.


Earl
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Post by Earl » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:45 pm

The website looks completely revamped. It looks good.

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Post by Geo. » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:55 pm

Thin on the Ground...
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Post by innsaneink » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 8:04 pm

Earl wrote:
Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:45 pm
The website looks completely revamped. It looks good.
Might looks good but much worng...Seeyoumangafsinia and jmk still on.profile...probanly more

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Post by Earl » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 8:12 pm

I suppose we should state that the fullback spot looks fairly weak to me. The top contender to me is Tui with Kev as the back-up.

Still I reckon Tui is the sort of player who could get it together and make a difference to our side. The problem is how likely it is that he will kick on and be consistent.


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Post by Black'n'White » Tue 12 Dec, 2017 11:24 pm

Earl wrote:
Tue 12 Dec, 2017 8:12 pm
I suppose we should state that the fullback spot looks fairly weak to me. The top contender to me is Tui with Kev as the back-up.

Still I reckon Tui is the sort of player who could get it together and make a difference to our side. The problem is how likely it is that he will kick on and be consistent.
pretty much my sentiments as well...

the question I pose is how you mark consistent. Teddy was a gun, but didnt stamp authority on every game, nor every second game, there was plenty of times he would have ripped it up if the game was played sideways... and not to throw shade on Tedesco now he is leaving, he made some stellar defensive plays, but he was also horribly positioned alot of the time which made his efforts seem more spectacular in many instances.

Tui isnt Teddy, and hope he is marked on his own merits and not by means of comparison.

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Post by jadtiger » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 1:13 am

If they are the 4 contenders only 1 of those (Tui) is a realistic choice.Lets hope Tui remains healthy.

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Post by Russell » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:22 am

Sounds like they are trying too hard to whip up competition for the full back spot.

The last two are non events.

It is Tui and Kev that are the competitors.

I declare no match..... Tui wins hands down and will be one of the stars of 2018. (Teddy who????)

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Post by GNR4LIFE » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:30 am

There are contenders? It will be Tui in a canter.

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Post by happy tiger » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:40 am

I think Hodgson is our next best option

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Post by kevinmcguiness » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:52 am

Earl wrote:
Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:45 pm
The website looks completely revamped. It looks good.
aren't all nrl clubs under the same website structures?

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Post by kevinmcguiness » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:52 am

GNR4LIFE wrote:
Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:30 am
There are contenders? It will be Tui in a canter.
yeah, i think it's a mute point.

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Post by Balmain Boy » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 10:28 am

Obviously Tui wins by a mile. Wouldn't really want any of the others playing there unless things are desperate!

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Post by Tiger Watto » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 12:01 pm

So we really dont have an NRL Fullback at this stage...

Obviously Tui will get a walk-up start from that list.

Hasnt Taane Milne played Fullback?
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Post by underdog » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 12:05 pm

I can't wait to see him (Lolohea)at fullback with open space to work with - in broken play during the world cup he looked dangerous!

Seems smart enough, and loud enough on the field to order around his troops in defense, and also seems able to make a tackle or two.

Might be an absolute revelation at Fullback. I'm really excited for it.
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Post by tigerap » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 12:38 pm

Earl wrote:
Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:45 pm
The website looks completely revamped. It looks good.
Too bad the links didn't work yesterday....., they are working today, it seems the WT Admin just cant get the little(but important) things right first time...

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Post by Geo. » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 2:07 pm

tigerap wrote:
Wed 13 Dec, 2017 12:38 pm
Earl wrote:
Tue 12 Dec, 2017 7:45 pm
The website looks completely revamped. It looks good.
Too bad the links didn't work yesterday....., they are working today, it seems the WT Admin just cant get the little(but important) things right first time...
You know it's across all NRL Clubs and NRL.com..farmed out to the 1 designer right...?
Wayne Train 2019..

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Post by Spud Murphy » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:25 pm

happy tiger wrote:
Wed 13 Dec, 2017 9:40 am
I think Hodgson is our next best option
Could probably still play better than most.

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