The past week has been extremely newsworthy for the Wests Tigers.

Star second-rower Isaiah Papali'i was granted permission to speak with other clubs for 2025. He was then snapped up by the Panthers very quickly.

Meanwhile CEO Shane Richardson has reportedly flown to England to discuss the availability of a number of his players.

As strange as this is going to sound, I absolutely love what I am hearing from the Tigers right now.

Talk was that Papali'i may have requested the chance to look at options next season. If this is true, the Tigers have absolutely made the right decision in allowing him to leave.

Will it help results in 2025? Almost certainly not. He's arguably a top three player for the club and his presence will be surely missed.

That said, the Wests Tigers are in a complete rebuild right now and it is far more important to establish a culture.

A culture where players want to be at the club.

A culture where players are targeted and signed based on need and value, rather than just availability.

Ultimately a winning culture!

Despite the negativity on some corners of social media, Marshall and co have accepted that a change needs to be made and embracing the short-term pain for long-term gain.

Regarding Shane Richardson's trip to England, reports are that he is shopping a number of players to Super League clubs.

I have no idea who is supposedly on this reported shopping list but I dare say there are some overpaid and underperforming names in need of some warmer clothes.

Despite some sections of the media already penning Benji Marshall's coaching career obituary, I love what I have seen from the rookie coach to date.

Yes, results aren't great and finals look gone for 2024 but anyone who expected a seismic shift in one off-season is not living in reality.

We've seen the emergence of Lachlan Galvin, a better than expected return on Aidan Sezer and most importantly of all the signing of Jarome Luai.

Most importantly of all though Marshall looks to have implemented a "club first" mentality the Tigers have lacked for many years.

Rumours of players complaining about being trained too hard under Michael Maguire. Premiership winning coach and current NSW Blues coach Michael Maguire.

Players using the Tigers as a shopwindow before demanding releases. See Ryan Matterson.

Targeting former big name players on big money only to see them underperform. I won't name names but there are four or five in the current "strongest 17".

Apisai Koroisau and Jarome Luai are the outliers, but most of the Tigers recent signings have been due to players having little other choice.

I don't want to kick the Tigers while they are down but it's truth!

Again, I don't want to name those players, but again ... we all know who they are.

By showing players, and fans, that the club isn't going to pander to player or agent demands, or is willing to move want-away stars on, they're showing confidence in themselves.

Confident that they can, once again, be a destination club. Confident that they can, once again, be a team that plays finals footy.

How many times have we seen big name players sign for Melbourne, Penrith or the Roosters for "unders"? Players will take under market value money to play for contenders.

Meanwhile the Tigers, currently, have to pay over market value to attract top line stars.

I'm hopeful that the Luai and Api connection can help kickstart a recruitment drive like that enjoyed by the Dogs. A few years ago the Dogs were feasting on scraps. In recent seasons they've attracted names like Matt Burton, Viliame Kikau and Stephen Crichton.

Those recruits will only arrive though if the Tigers can show they are serious.

Letting a supposed want-away star go shows that perhaps they are.

Flying your CEO to England to offer up players you've deemed excess to requirements also says they're getting serious.

There are four of five current Tigers who could go over to England and be stars. Or at least prolong their careers for a few seasons.

That said, they're no longer up to elite NRL standard, at least in the Tigers eyes.

Replacing Papali'i will be difficult but there is no way you can convince me that he's the difference between the Tigers making the eight and not.

If we're talking prime Cooper Cronk then of course the Tigers aren't allowing him to walk away but in Papali'i's case, so be it.

The player market isn't exactly heaving for 2025 right now but three days ago we didn't know Papali'i was going to move either.

With players and agents pushing for moves almost weekly, the Tigers can now sit on a pile of cap space and make smart choices, based on need.

You'd have to travel a long way to find a Tigers fan who would rather support a team without Papali'i in the side than one with him in there.

That said, there isn't a Tigers fan who, having suffered for over a decade now, wouldn't cop another down year or two if it meant a shift for the club long-term.

Benji and co have taken steps to ensure that happens.

Maybe it doesn't. At least they've changed from what they've been doing for ten years now, which absolutely has not worked.