SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Robbie Farah of the Tigers leads the Tigers out during the round 25 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval on September 08, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Pre-Season Prediction: 10th

Actual Finish: 9th

Highlights

Re-Signing Luke Brooks: The Tigers made no secret that Brooks was their man when they prioritised his signing back in the big four days.

Losing Brooks would have been a killer blow given he was coming off a Dally M halfback of the year season.

I’m not sure exactly how much thought was given to moving on by Brooks and his management but there were plenty of potential landing spots.

The Tigers did the business and have their Marquee half locked away until the end of 2022. Vital!

Clear Out: This is still ongoing but currently the Tigers have over a million dollars worth of cap space either running out for the Magpies or tied up in the long term casualty ward.

Esan Marsters has been moved on, Robbie Farah has retired and the process has been started to attempt to medically retire Ben Matulino.

The future of Russell Packer also looks elsewhere while Josh Reynolds has been linked to the Super League.

With all due respect to this current roster, it won’t worry the big guns at the business end of the season.

Michael McGuire is a smart operator and is taking the steps required to address this.

Young Talent Maturing: Michael Chee-Kam will feature in Tigers highlights reels for many years following his late heroics against Brisbane and the Bunnies.

Paul Momirovski had a season that saw him selected for the PMs XIII. He’ll feature much more in 2020 after becoming a regular member of the Tigers backline.

Luke Garner, Oliver Clark and Thomas Mikaele all became regular first-graders at the back end of 2019.

Low Lights

9th Again: It has become a running joke but fans of the Tigers aren’t laughing after missing finals yet again.

A disastrous loss to the Sharks in front of a sold-out home crowd saw the Tigers finish as the best of the rest for seemingly the tenth season in a row.

At times this Tigers side looked capable of a finals finish while at times they looked equally as suited to finishing in the bottom few.

Truthfully they probably didn’t deserve to play finals footy given their inconsistencies but this was just cruel.

Reynolds Experiment Fails Season 2: As mentioned elsewhere, I hate to single out players but it’s fact that the Reynolds experiment has not worked.

Reynolds has only managed 12 games across his two year Tigers venture. He was shifted around in 2019 and largely failed to lock down a position with any consistency.

Unfortunately for the former Blues series-winning half, when he did lock down a regular gig it was for the Tigers NSW Cup side.

McGuire and co need to work out what they’re going to do with their big-money utility. Either lock him in somewhere or face a third failed year.

51-6 Bankwest Nightmare: Fans of the Tigers won’t want to relive this day as the Eels opened their new home by feasting on a terrible Tigers outfit.

The nine try to one drubbing was made worse by the fact the Tigers were coming off a win against Brisbane at Suncorp and were building some incredible momentum.

To say they were brought back to Earth with a thud is a huge understatement. Truthfully they were every bit as bad as the Eels were good.

Stunningly they made less errors and missed fewer tackles than the Eels but they simply didn’t do … Anything.

The Tigers were just there. Might as well have been in the stands watching on.

Star Player: Ryan Matterson

Forget the current headlines re their star recruit. 2019 was a brilliant season for the future Origin second-rower/utility.

Chosen in the extended Blues side, Matterson is unlikely to bust a game open in the likes of a Kikau or Burgess but personifies Mr consistent.

Truthfully that’s rare in tigers colours which is why it’s such a huge shame to read him being linked to almost every rival club.

Averaging 132 metres a game and tackling at over 91% efficiency, Matto will be missed if he does decide to move elsewhere.

Season Grading: C-

Ultimately the Tigers missed the finals after results elsewhere gifted them a home game to secure September footy but the season wasn’t a complete loss.

Based in pre-season expectation, a 9th placed finish was not a huge shock, but given that sides around them almost refused to lock in finals spots, this will go down as an opportunity missed.

The Tigers best player is currently looking to move clubs with management seemingly unwilling to match demands of an Origin quality player.

Luke Brooks badly needs a full-time Nrl quality partner in the halves and unfortunately, the Tigers realistically look no closer to providing him with that.

It was brilliant to see Farah be given a much-deserved send-off in front of a sell-out crowd but it’s another year sans finals footy.

9th again sums it up perfectly.