SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Tigers players congratulate Moses Mbye of the Tigers after scoring a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on August 23, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Matterson may be a pretty good player. Momirovsky was ordinary in ISP. Don’t know why you’re singing his praises?

  2. Ha…in 2017 everyone was calling us premiership favourites and giant killers all because of the year prior, and look what happened??? Looked nothing like the side that almost got to the GF the year before… We didn’t even come close to top 8. The point is, you start labeling teams has dark horses and premiership challengers your basically inviting them to fail. I prefer the Raiders not to be even considered as a genuine challenger, cos that’s when there is no pressure on us and thats when we play our best footy. I must admit, I love hearing `Raiders have no chance, and Raiders for the spoon this year’…

  3. I hope they make the 8, but ……………………………………………………..
    It’s a long season.

  4. 9th/10th again…. I’m a Tigers supporter.

    Need a strike centre aggressive prop and a fast tall winger. Then we might be top 8 material.

  5. What is the difference between the Wests Tigers of 2018 and this year? Michael Maguire and a few capable first grade players plus a new captain in Moses Mbye. Will this be enough to transform them into a formidable and CONSISTENT team? I’m not going to make any predictions, but I do rate Madge as a coach, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers finish in the top 8.

  6. I think they will go better than last season, Matterson is a really good big body to have on the paddock and Momirovski has got plenty of strength. Could develop into anything under a premiership winning coach. A fit Reynolds will make things interesting in the selection room. They gave the Roosters a real couple of tough games last season both games finished with a two point difference and going one game each.🎱🎯🎱🎯

    • I agree with you 100%. They really pushed the Premiers on both occassions. Their recruits especially Matterson is quite underrated. Bonafide tackling machine

  7. They lack the punch up front, they need a few decent Props.
    Forwards win comps but they are lacking in that department.

    They will struggle to make the 8 this season again but they won’t finish as bad as some fans think.
    Most likely between 10th to 13th.

    • I reckon Alex Twal will be their go to front row forward this season. With Madge looking at the future, this guy consistently made 200m+ when given the minutes and had the best tackling efficiency at 95% in the entire league.

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