Despite the Wests Tigers being set to clinch their second consecutive wooden spoon, the club is reportedly aiming to secure the future of a young breakout star at the club.
That young breakout star is outside back Junior Tupou.
Despite the Wests Tigers sitting on the bottom of the NRL ladder, Tupou has been one of the main positives in what has been a poor season for the club. He has also given them hope for the future, showing promise on the wing and in the centres - positions that the Tigers have struggled in for many years.
Set to hit the open market on November 1, it is reported that the Tigers are confident he will remain at the club, with the club beginning contract extension talks with his management, per News Corp.
A number one priority to lock down, Tupou has appeared in 19 games for the club this season, scoring six tries, managing 78 tackle busts and 16 line breaks while running a total of 2323 metres, averaging 122 per game.
Able to play in both the centres and the wing, he is likely to play on the wing next season due to the arrival of U19s NSW Blues protect Josh Feledy entering the top 30 roster next season. This is despite Sheens using him in the centres for two of the past three weeks.
Finishing 2022 off strong, Tupou came into the new season red-hot with a great showing against the Canberra Raiders in the pre-season challenge. Unanimously the best player on the day, he couldn't have asked for a better statement from Tim Sheens after the game. Throughout the season he has shown promise but failed with consistency, something he will be eager to work on in 2024.
“When he grows up and realises how good he can be, he'll be something. He's a 105kg winger and can still play (Jersey) Flegg,” the 2005 premiership coach said.
"He's a freak. Just watching his carries on the way back, (I'm) so proud of him," Captain Apisai Koroisau said about the 21-year-old earlier this season.
"To be that young too, he's really composed, great under the high ball and just works his backside off for this team. Just to see him get off started like that, it really is a pleasure."
After receiving praise from his captain and coach, Tupou would later be on the end of compliments from his opponents.
"He put us under the pump, that Junior Tupou. For a young kid, I thought, how he was carrying the ball, he was unbelievable for them, and he tore us to shreds really, and he hurt us. So, it's a credit to him,” Moses said after the Easter Monday clash between the two clubs.