The current he said, she said drama enveloping the Wests Tigers has provided much fodder for newspapers and sports talk shows as the team’s 2014 season slips away. However there is a different element of the club’s off field performance that should really get attention: the clubs remarkable player retention.
First a quick anecdote. When i was admitted to law school my father told me that i now had the “responsibility of having a secured future.” What he meant was that if i didn’t now go on to put myself in a comfortable position in life then it would be my own fault. I had reached a position where success should in fact be easier than failure.
With that in mind consider the list of players that the Tigers now have under contract until the end of the 2017 season: Robbie Farah, Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses, James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, David Noafaluma and Curtis Sironen.
For those keeping score at home that is an entire current Origin, or presumed future Origin, spine; a current starting Origin prop; a high class finisher and the son of a legend who can play on the edge or in the halves in a pinch. Plus in all likelihood the younger Sironen brother will soon join Curtis on the long term list at the Tigers.
That is a secured future right there. With that core of players success should be easier than failure.
Certainly there are some questions – can Tedesco stay healthy, does Luke Brooks know he’s allowed on the right side of the field and most importantly can Robbie Farah play nice with others?
However as someone who has spent far too much time on the wonderful zerotackle.com player movements page i can guarantee you no team has a better core of players locked in for as long as the Tigers.
Add to that the talent still in the club’s Holden Cup team (currently 5th) and NSW Cup team (currently 3rd) and the Tigers loom as a perennial finals contender for many years to come
Somehow despite the infighting in the Board and the questionable relationship between the head coach and his staff and between the head coach and management and between the head coach and the players – hmmm a trend emerges – the Tigers have managed to secure a core of players that should make them competitive for years to come.
All of which only serves to underscore just how important it is for the club to make the a decision about the coaching situation sooner rather than later. The Tigers stand at an important junction right now. Down one path they are an NRL powerhouse, down the other they risk wasting a golden generation of talent. Choose wisely.
Read Lachlan’s work regularly on the Roar and follow him on twitter @mrsports83