NRL Rd 16 - Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Luke Brooks of the Tigers looks on after a Rabbitohs try during the round 16 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Leichhardt Oval on July 04, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Wests Tigers had a disastrous 2021, finishing in the bottom four and falling from one problem to the next. Here is their season review.

Pre-season predicted finish: 14th
Actual finish: 13th
Record: Eight wins (-214)

2021 Season snapshot

Another season, another failure to make finals. Tigers fans are sick of hearing about the lack of finals but it literally is what it is.

2021 never looked like a season of success. The Tigers started slowly and it never really improved, consistently from there.

The frustrating thing though is the side produced some incredible results. They beat the Knights twice this season. Yes their opposition were under strength but they beat the Panthers also.

Unfortunately for every positive result there were multiple terrible ones. Another season of promising moments lost in the reality of another series without Finals.

Star player: Adam Doueihi

Adam Doueihi was absolutely fantastic in 2021. He was the Tigers best by a mile. 17 try assists, nine tries, nine line breaks and 52 tackle breaks make for a good return.

Somewhat ridiculously he was shifted out into the centres to make way for Moses Mbye, despite being the Tigers best half option all season.

Few will forget the five try assists he laid on in the Tigers massive 42-24 win over the Broncos. He had the ball on a string.

I cannot believe, for a second, that Maguire is considering playing Doueihi anywhere but in the halves next season.

ADAM DOUEIHI
Fullback
Wests Tigers
2021 SEASON AVG
0.5
Tries
0.9
Try Assists
2.6
Tackle Breaks

Breakout star: Daine Laurie

The young superstar fullback was a bright, shining light in an otherwise dire season. He has solved the Tigers number one issues and shapes as a genuine ten-plus year option.

His stats were very impressive; seven tries, eight try assists, nine line break assists, 71 tackle breaks and 134 metres run per game. As a rookie!

Despite his error of judgement in attire following the grand final he quickly became a crowd favourite within the Tigers fanbase.

They were forced to release a pretty handy centre to secure his signing this season but I would argue it was well worth it, many times over. Future megastar!

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Positives

Coaching future sorted (for now): I am so sick of the "will they or won't they" with regards to Michael Maguire's future as coach of the Tigers. I can only guess how sick of it fans of the clubs must be.

Maguire isn't the issue. That comes much higher up the decision making process, but for a long time it looked as though he would be made the scapegoat for yet another poor season.

The Tigers have come out and stated that Maguire has the board's full support as coach moving into 2022. That is good. Should have come many months ago.

That said, does anyone truly believe this issue is settled? Or that Maguire won't be sacked the second results turn sour? For now it's case settled though.

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire (Image: NRL.com)

Spine options: The aforementioned Daine Laurie has the fullback jersey locked down for as long as he wants it. Adam Doueihi looks a brilliant option at six or seven.

Throw in the incoming Jackson Hastings and two young, exciting options in the hooker role and suddenly the spine options present an air of excitement.

The Tigers fan base seems split on whether the nine jumper should be worn by Jacob Liddle or Jake Simpkin but at 24 or 19 respectively, both present options full of potential.

The Jackson Hastings signing is a brilliant one. He and Doueihi have to start in the halves next season for mine. We should see some expansive and entertaining football coming out of Tiger Town next year.

Negatives

Luke Brooks future: Surely the time has come for the Tigers to make the tough call here. Rumours of Brooks being shopped to Canberra and the Sharks, I think it's a matter of when and not if.

I'm not saying Brooks is the issue for the Tigers but the stats don't lie; they've never played finals footy with Brooks at the helm.

The fact he was linked with a move to the halfback starved Raiders, and then the equally starved Sharks, only to be knocked back says it all.

I'm not necessarily saying it's time to move on from Brooks but it is absolutely time for the Tigers to put an end to all this speculation and nonsense. Either yes or no. It doesn't seem that difficult.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Luke Brooks of the Tigers passes during the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval on August 01, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Constant negativity: How many negative Tigers headlines have you read this week? This review isn't overly positive either so you can probably add this to the list.

There is so much negativity surrounding this club right now that it's almost no longer funny. I say that in jest but my Tiger supporting mates aren't laughing.

That Tiger Town documentary was very entertaining but yet another own goal for the club. That should never have aired.

You know what breaks up negativity? Success! Ask Panthers fans how their week is going despite negative headlines. Hint: they don't care.

Season Grade: D

Well, at least they didn't finish ninth! Right?

Unfortunately for Tigers fans, who are rightly sick and tired of jokes re the club finishing one spot out of the finals, they fell even further this season.

Eight wins. Not good enough. Pretty easy to state when you've fallen two wins and 200 differential points outside of finals.

Ten years. A decade. That's how long it has been since the Tigers graced us with their presence come finals footy.

There was no chance, at any time this season, the Tigers threatened to end that drought.