The West Tigers were definitely the surprise packet of the 2018 season. Looking back on season 2018, it could truly be summed up as: “What could have been?”
The Tigers started the year in a blaze of glory when everyone had written them of. Wins over the Storm twice and Roosters once in the opening 10 rounds showcased the goliath defensive efforts that Ivan Cleary had drilled into them all season.
However, a mid-season form slump definitely highlighted what this team has been lacking for the last 7 years dating back to 2011 – their most recent finals berth.
The old cliche referred in coaching terms as ‘Consistency’ has plagued the Tigers of any shot of making the top 8. Coupled with the off-field dramas with the coach, this team was destined to always miss the mark in season 2018.
Looking forward, to a new year you would think the Tigers would improve on last season’s efforts.
Replacing Ivan Cleary is a man of great stature in the coaching ranks. His name Michael Maguire, a 2-time premiership winner with a military type mentality in his coaching.
Who could ever forget when Madge led the South Sydney Rabbitohs to their iconic premiership win in 2014 – some could argue that it is one of the memorable wins of all time.
With Madge at the helm, followed by the shrewd signings of two Roosters young guns in Ryan Matterson and Paul Momirovski, this Tigers team seemed to have transformed from pretender to contender over the offseason.
Matterson, a 193 cm, 107 kg highly skilful 80-minute edge back-rower, with an insatiable appetite for work will definitely solidify the gaping defensive weakness of the Tiger’s right edge.
Momirovski, a largely unheralded figure in the Roosters 2018 Premiership win. His clutch efforts including the final try in the Preliminary final against the Rabbitohs cannot be forgotten.
With a new coach, two experienced heads in Marshall and Farah seemingly riding off into the sunset after season 2019, a few fresh faces and arguably the most dynamic backline in the competition, I’m expecting the Tigers to really give this competition a shake.