There is nothing worse in sport than being mediocre. Great teams win games and titles. Terrible teams have a licence to clear the decks and make huge changes to their team. When a team is mediocre, they just stuck going no where. Not a title contender, but not bad enough that they have the incentive to make those huge changes.
That is where the Wests Tigers have been stuck for what feels like a decade.
We joke about the Wests Tigers having a lock on that 9th place on the ladder, but for Tigers fans it is nothing but torture. Just take a look at various reviews of different bookmakers to see what odds the betting sites features on this event along with other hot upcoming matches. You can easily see that they have all but locked in the Wests Tigers for 9th place or worse on the ladder again in 2020 which looks to be right on the money.
For most teams that don’t make the finals there is the hope that you can sign players that will improve the club. That doesn’t seem to be the case at the Wests Tigers however. So many of the players they have targeted have looked elsewhere. One in Tim Mannah even chose to retire playing for Wentworthville Magpies instead of extending his career with the Tigers!
The latest player to decide against joining the Wests Tigers is Latrell Mitchell. Once Mitchell announced he would move to the South Sydney Rabbitohs the Wests Tigers went into damage control stating that they would not overpay a superstar to join their club.
This means that all the Wests Tigers are after is a young superstar who can score tries and kick goals, who is in high demand across the game, who wants to take a pay cut to join a club that is notorious for being mediocre and for being unable to attract talent to the club to help them improve.
Only Wests Tigers management would be stupid enough to think there is a reality that exists where that might happen.
When Latrell Mitchell went from the Sydney Roosters to the South Sydney Rabbitohs some pointed fingers at the NRL salary cap, claiming the move showed it isn’t working. What they forgot about was the fact the South Sydney Rabbitohs lost their two highest paid players in 2019. They had the salary cap space available and managed to sign talent away from the top team in the competition. That is EXACTLY how the NRL salary cap should work.
The problem that we see in the NRL is that some clubs manage their salary cap very poorly. They are poorly run clubs. The top NRL players are not stupid. They will not look to waste away the prime of their careers at a poorly run club unless that club makes an offer that is too good to refuse.
That is where you have to wonder about the Wests Tigers strategy.
They could have signed Mitchell, a try scoring, goal scoring, young test player who was looking to play fullback and locked him in. They chose not to make an offer he could not refuse.
What exactly are they waiting for?
If they current Wests Tigers management can’t manage the salary cap and they are also unwilling to attract top of the line talent to the club, the Tigers will just continue to lock in that 9th place every year.
After all, a mediocre club only gets to that situation because they are mediocre management…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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