"My wife asked me at the ground why I wasn't celebrating the Staford try, and I say you watch Manly will find another. I know how this ends."

Those are the words of a life long Tigers fan, who like many thousands of others, don't know where the next win is coming from.

That is the reality of being a Tigers fan in 2023.

Despite a highly hyped, and rightfully so, recruitment drive, the Tigers have started the season with seven straight losses. The Tigers have now lost a club record 12 games in a row.

Round 20, 2022 was the last time the Wests Tigers got to sing the team song in a competitive match-up. That was late July last year. They haven't won two straight games since April last year.

Tigers fans don't need reminding of these stats but I really want to frame just how dire the feeling around the club is right now.

It's only April but the Tigers 2023 Final chances are done. They're the only side you can write off as Finals hopefuls at this point. This will of course be an eleventh season sans Finals footy.

Who can blame fans for expecting their team to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

If the Tigers can't defeat the struggling Dragons in two week's time, I don't see another winnable game until Round 20.

Part of me wants to see the Tigers endure a winless season as it may finally prompt the changes the club needs to shed the stink of the past decade.

Speaking to numerous Tigers fans, they couldn't disagree. Some even insisted it was the only way forward.

Much has been made about the club's near obsessive dedication to their struggling halfback in Luke Brooks. Correctly so.

Zero Tackle's own Scott Pryde broke down the incredible numbers that outline the struggles of the long-term seven brilliantly so I will largely leave Brooks alone here.

ROCKHAMPTON, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Luke Brooks of the Tigers looks dejected after losing the round 23 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks at Browne Park, on August 21, 2021, in Rockhampton, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Just quickly though, I can't think of any player who has consistently failed to deliver in such an important position, on such big money, without consequence. I don't like singling out one player but this is a professional business and this relationship soured seasons ago. Seasons ago!

Justin Pascoe, the club's CEO, has sat in his chair for seven seasons. It will be eight full years as of September, 2023.

I know full well his duties extend beyond the on field success of the team but at what stage does he accept responsibility as the boss and steps down?

For mine it's five years overdue, and I say that without he emotion of paying hundreds of dollars every year to see my club reduced to a finish 9th meme ... on our good years.

There seems to be a culture of not accepting responsibility within the club. Other than if you're the coach of course.

It's always the coaches fault. Sack him and the team will improve.

Two time premiership-winning coach and finals regular Ivan Cleary was let go. The feeling is he always wanted to return to Penrith but his tenure is remembered only for the laughable "on the bus" promotion.

Michael Maguire's reign will be remembered for a mixture of players supposedly complaining about "training too hard" and his record of dropping 100-or-so F bombs during an episode of that awful Tiger Town documentary.

Brett Kimmorley was thrown to the wolves in a no-win situation in 2023 as an interim coach.

Tim Sheens return to the club was hailed as a coup. The return of the man who oversaw the club's Premiership winning season of 2005.

I know it's early in his tenure but I'm willing to announce the move as an abject failure. So much so that a certain Daily Telegraph journalist, who was bragging about his role in the decision when it happened, has since completely distanced himself.

Sheens hilariously oversaw the sacking of Maguire and the appointment of himself as head coach. Keeping in mind he wouldn't take over right away but instead appointed the aforementioned Kimmorley who was flat chat delivering one win in 12 games.

At the time I was somewhat positive about the plan for Sheens to oversee the handover to Benji Marshall in two years time.

Now I see it for what it really was. Buying time.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Director of Football at Wests Tigers,Tim Sheens looks on during a Wests Tigers NRL training session at St Lukes Park North on April 13, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Two years under Sheens before handing over to rookie coach and club legend Benji Marshall. They even appointed Robbie Farah to the coaching set up. The club's two biggest stars and their tile-winning coach.

Throw in a magnificent recruitment drive that saw them net grand final hero Apisai Koroisau, megastar back rower Isaiah Papali'i and rep forward David Klemmer, and this simply couldn't fail.

Except it did. They now sit 0-7 and face the very real possibility of being worse than last year's historically ordinary wooden spoon side.

Tim Sheens recently joked that he hoped his side "would beat the bye" ... Tigers fans aren't laughing.

Tigers fans deserve better than being forced to endure a holding pattern for another season and a half.

If Benji Marshall is the man they deem the choice to take the club forward, appoint him right now. Move Sheens on, admit it was an abject failure and cut Marshall and Farah some slack for the rest of 2023.

It won't fix all the issues within the club. Many of them in fact. Or even any of the issues, but at least it's a somewhat fresh start.

I would argue the club needs to abandon future plans, cut loose Sheens, Marshall and Farah and stop living off past glories, but it would be a costly move. Wouldn't guarantee success either.

We've seen Dally M team of the year players almost forget what made them megastars the very second the orange and black jersey hits their skin.

Koroisau joked he was lucky he'd won titles at Penrith as it wasn't happening at his new club. Papali'i and his camp didn't exactly rush to silence rumours of an impending backflip on his Tigers deal.

NRL Rd 1 - Wests Tigers v Titans
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 05: Isaiah Papali'i of the Wests Tigers is tackled during the round one NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval on March 05, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

We now have reports from England suggesting that club bosses are warning their players of risks of stunting their careers by moving to the Tigers. I've got no way to prove this is a wide ranging feeling but I certainly wouldn't blame people thinking that way if they did.

How long are Tigers fans expected to sit back and accept that their 28 year-old, almost 200 game halfback is "progressing"? How many hundreds of dollars in memberships and club merchandise can they be expected to commit before they're rewarded with a winning season?

You can only laugh so long.

I'm not one who sheds tears for opposition fans, having endured horror runs at my own club the Sharks.

Even I feel bad for these fans. I have very close mates, who despite holding season tickets, have simply given up.

There is no way, in a salary cap era, that a team should go over a decade without a Finals appearance.

There will always be those better run clubs who can maintain success long-term. The cyclical nature of signings and developing players though should make it impossible for sides to remain bad for so-long.

How many times can the likes of Pascoe and other decision makers sit in their offices passing the buck and sacking coaches before being held to account?

The fact that a rapidly growing fan base of Tigers fans have requested help from the NRL to impose change upon the club says it all.

Tigers fans deserve better.


  1. Who owns the club, and votes for the members of the board?
    The board are the only ones who can sack the CEO.

    If Wests fans are so fed-up, the only option they have is for a social-media campaign to encourage all fans to boycott every Wests game, and to not buy any further merchandise until Justin Pascoe is replaced/stands down.

    Don’t just whinge, Wests fans. Do something.

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