A new Wests Tigers era has begun under the watch of club legends Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah as the team looks to move away from a wooden spoon finish in 2022.

But despite all the criticisms of the club culture and other wide-ranging issues that have taken centre stage since the team last made the NRL finals, former captain Chris Lawrence says that all three of those Tigers icons returning speaks volumes about how much the club means to everyone who has been involved in it.

Lawrence also believes the fact that these big names all came back should give some serious credibility to the club's pursuit of former Tiger Mitchell Moses.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Chris Lawrence of the Tigers and team mates celebrate a turn over during the round 15 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on June 27, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As he points out in our exclusive interview - few of the big names that have ever left the club actually wanted to leave. In fact, all three members of the current coaching staff had their time at the Tigers end unpleasantly.

Marshall's time at the club came to an acrimonious end after he fell out of favour with coach Mick Potter during a run of bad form, and the club failed to deliver on a handshake agreement to extend his contract.

Tim Sheens went so far as to get involved in legal action against the club, claiming they damaged his reputation by firing him in 2012 and replacing him with Potter.

Robbie Farah was famously forced out after being dropped to reserve grade thanks in part to a fractured relationship with then-coach Jason Taylor, ultimately forced to leave the club he personified before making his return two years later.

Given the nature of each departure, it's remarkable to think that all three have returned and united to herald a new dawn in Concord, but Lawrence is not surprised.

“Benji and Robbie never wanted to go,” Lawrence told Zero Tackle.

“A lot of the guys who left the club never really did want to go, circumstances just permitted there was no other option.

“With those guys, the times they left didn't end on great terms. Considering that, and yet they're back at the club, it shows how much care they have for the club that they can forego how it ended.

“Even Sheensy – he was fired from the club and has come back as well. It shows that sport is a business and things don't end how you'd like, but people can always come back.”

While Lawrence admits that it's the character of these club legends that has shone through in their decision to return, he says club has changed for the better in that time as well.

“They've made changes and gone back to people who really care about the club – and that's the most important thing,” Lawrence said.

“You definitely need good people around the club, people who care about the club. It's about more than the performances on the field, it's about everything that's involved with the club and wanting to make it succeed.

“The people they've got in Tim Sheens, Robbie and Benji, they've got that in spades.

“It's in their blood, especially Robbie and Benji – it's all they know (after) so many years at the club. They'd do anything for it.

“It's not a short-term fix, but knowing how competitive those two are and knowing how smart a footy brain Tim Sheens is, all players coming through are going to be the best-developed and most skillful players they can be.”

When reflecting on the returning Tigers icons, Lawrence also believes that the same can be said about the former ‘Big 4' of Luke Brooks, Mitch Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco, who were separated in what appeared to be similarly divisive circumstances.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Robbie Farah of the Tigers celebrates scoring a try with team mate Mitchell Moses during the round 14 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on June 10, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

With the club currently pursuing a return for Moses, Lawrence believes it's a genuine possibility because of the aforementioned cultural imprint of the Tigers team.

“It's worth remembering, those four wanted to stay and wanted to stay together,” Lawrence said.

“It was just the way it played out, to the point where they felt they had no option. You can see they way Teddy and Mitch particularly have kicked on and excelled at their new clubs, so they probably look at it as a blessing in disguise that they did leave.

“But 100 per cent (the club would) love to have those guys back and I definitely think those guys – and everyone who's played for the club – has a soft spot for the Tigers.

“Even though we haven't been successful, whether you've played one game or three hundred, you've got this tie to the club.

“Everyone wants to get involved, but in previous years because of a lack of direction I think there has been a lot of players who didn't feel they could or wanted to come back.

“But hopefully, with Sheensy, Robbie and Benji being back, it shows them that this is what the club is about.”