SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: James Tedesco of the Tigers poese with Aaron Woods of the Tigers following their final game with the Tigers during the round 26 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors at Leichhardt Oval on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As a Wests Tigers fan, I watched the Dally M’s with a heavy heart, as James Tedesco was announced the best player in the game it highlighted another great player that the Tigers have had in their midst and just were unable to keep. Alongside him in the team of the year stood the halfback of the year Mitchell Moses, another one that left the Tigers for greener pastures

If you look through the current crop of players making a name for themselves in the NRL, you will see a host of players that have spent time at Concord and decided they could do better elsewhere. In a year where the Tigers once again failed to make the finals, here is a reminder of some of their former players that were enjoying the finals.

  • James Tedesco. In 2014, Tedesco backflipped on a contract with the Canberra Raiders because he wanted to stay at the Tigers, he believed in the team back then. Fast forward a couple of years, the talented fullback had had enough of the limited success that was on offer at the Tigers and signed with the Roosters. Since that time, he has won a Premiership, become the Dally M player of the year, won another State of Origin series and will line up for another Grand Final.
  • Mitchell Moses. Another one of the so-called “big four” that left the Tigers in less than pleasant circumstances. Moses has had the season of his career, guiding Parramatta to the finals.
  • Nathan Brown. The Eels forward pulled on the Tigers jersey before going elsewhere.
  • Josh Addo-Carr. Some might not remember the brief time that the Fox spent at Concord but Tiger fans all recall vividly seeing Addo-Carr fly down field at Leichhardt. The Storm snapped him up pretty quickly and he has not looked back since, winning a premiership, playing in a Grand Final and the general success that comes from playing with a team like Melbourne.
  • Ryan Papenhuyzen. Whilst he technically didn’t play for the Tigers’ first-grade side, Papenhuyzen was a Tigers junior with a lot of wraps on him… The Storm saw his potential and signed him as a handy replacement for Billy Slater.
  • Martin Taupau. The beast that is Taupau provided grunt up front when the Tigers needed it. He was a fan favourite at the Tigers but has definitely become a powerhouse at Manly.
  • Moses Suli. This was one of the most talked about contract signings when the young Suli was offered big money to play at the Tigers. After being let go for disciplinary reasons he went to the Bulldogs where he didn’t even make the field, but at Manly he was starting to be a highly regarded player.
  • Matthew Lodge. Ok, this one you must grant the Tigers did the right thing of terminating his contract when he went off the rails in the US, but you cannot deny he has played some good footy.
  • Andrew Fifita. The Sharks forward has always been a talent to be reckoned with. Fifita left the Tigers at a time when it appeared that the Sharks had a deliberate strategy to wait for Tigers players to leave and then sign them up. He’s found a home at the Sharks and was part of their premiership-winning team.
  • Aaron Woods. The last of the “big four” that left the Tigers, admittedly has not reached the career success of some other former Tigers but still regarded as one of the best in the game.

All teams let go of talented players it just seems that players seem to get better once they leave the Tigers and as a team, they continue to struggle to make an impact on the competition.

There was hope that a respected coach like Michael Maguire would bring stability to the playing roster but the Ryan Matterson drama shows that the Tigers are still struggling to convince talented players that they will reach their full potential by being at the Tigers.

If the Tigers are going to be any hope of making the finals in 2020 and beyond it needs to start with the question why are talented players leaving, and how do we create a culture of success that attracts quality players to the team.

12 COMMENTS

  1. This all true.. The reason why the Tigers & Panthers will always be linked. Not necessarily for the players that are there, but for the players who were there & got away.
    If you put a former Tigers & Panthers team of players together . It would be a mighty team.

  2. Yes this is all true but in reality where do you start to get better. You still have the big contracts of Matalino, Packer, Taylor, McQueen, Reynolds and others just sitting there on the books. They have been free to leave for a while now but no one wants them and fairly so, hahaha.
    In reality they don’t have much cap space and if you look at that team the main two areas they need improvement in hooker and prop/lock. Farah retiring and Matterson wanting to leave are a big reason but you need to fill those holes.

    Issac Luke is available, Nathan Peats is probably another easy target, Andrew McCullogh is there but he’s expensive, they have options. As for replacing Matterson, I would look for a trade. Matterson is from Bankstown send him to the Doggies for Adam Elliot and Fa Brown. Brown atleast provides cover for halves and hooker, Elliot is a hard worker on defence

  3. Maybe find a way to stop the king poachers, The Sydney Sombreros taking their good players and miraculously fitting them into their cap.

  4. Even when you watch the Wallabies in the Rugby you are reminded of Marika Koroibete having left the Tigers also

  5. Unless they stop buying players who already peaked and others that fringe 1st graders that have been offloaded then 9th spot will be the Tigers for years to come.

  6. This article has a lot of merit, and I do really feel for Tigers fans. My little brother of 10 years old had his heart broken when his favourite player James Tedesco departed the club to move to me and his dad’s team. But it’s the classic issue of the inequalities in the salary cap. Unfortunately, it’s not really an issue that can be solved easily, but sides with the infrastructure that teams like Easts and Souths have will always be more attractive on the same money than teams like the tigers. It’s easy for me to say that the tigers should just do things differently in terms of retention, but that’s easier said than done. All I can say is that the tigers have a wealth of rugby league heartland to choose from when it comes to juniors, unlike my roosters who have a tiny section of the city filled with offices and rich lebaneese people. That’s why the Roosters have to get players from elsewhere. If I was the tigers, that’s what I’d be turning to.

  7. Sydney…
    You say all this about buying players. The best players available won’t usually go to the West , just like they won’t go to Canberra.
    A lot of very good juniors are poached by the Chickens, Manly , Melbourne & even Brisbane. Even Parramatta’s buying spree has depended on other teams in the west,for the most part.
    Clubs in the West bring through many good players to first grade , to have them taken because of the cap , other clubs spending big time at Canterbury Cup level ( which has no cap )& their own issues.
    So unless clubs in less attractive areas , such as the west & Canberra get a bigger cap for first grade than the seaside areas etc, it’ll never be an even playing field . Clubs should also have to pay transfer fees for juniors , price depending on the age & level they are at.
    Can’t see the money clubs agreeing to that. So the NRL won’t agree with it.
    Hence clubs out west just have to try & develop their own players & get a few buys. Usually fairly ordinary ones.

  8. Look at the F.ckwit Spaceman EastsOfTheDivide, total full blown nob gobbler, thinjs he knows his footy but is only an ArseClown

  9. To Twit#One

    Maybe find a way to stop the king poachers, The South Sydney Crowes Sombreros taking all the good reject players and miraculously fitting them into their cap.
    12 last season and building beyond that already for this their early off season.

  10. EastsOf Divide why would top players be drawn to Penrith. Nothing coach, Nothing roster, Nothing chance of Semi-Final footy.

  11. The tigers will turnaround with Maguire at the helm. Matterson, Packer, Matulino, Reynolds & Momirovski were all of Cleary’s and Egan’s signings. Momirovski is the only one that seems to be working well with Maguire’s plan, once Maguire gets a couple of his own recruits on board well be good.

    With respects to Matulino, Packer and Reynold’s contracts, why would anyone be interested in their hefty contracts when their playing in reserve grade.

    That’s like test driving a Maserati at 40 kph and then deciding to buy it, that’s one criticism I have with Maguire atm. We’ve got to get these big signings out on the field playing at their best ability in order to be generate interest to sell em off. (Just don’t overtrain them and make these signings prone to injury).

  12. AdamWoodLouse..
    Could have sworn they were in the finals for three years in a row before 2019..
    Did you miss those years through drugs?
    You should reply if you actually have something more constructive to add.

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