NRL 2022, Wests Tigers preview, best 17, biggest question mark, draw, toughest stretch

Here’s everything you need to know about the Wests Tigers ahead of the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.

The Lowdown

Overview

It was another long year for Tiger fans, with occasional glimpses of promises and some new youngsters in between periods of underachievement and another year out of the finals. The return of Premiership coach Tim Sheens from 2005 as football director has already had a positive effect, with Api Koroisau and Isaiah Papali’i agreeing on the terms for 2023, but they have to take some big steps in 2022 to give these stars something to work from.

Possible best 17

1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Oliver Gildart, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Jackson Hastings, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Stefano Utoikamanu, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Tyrone Peachey, 14. Jake Simpkin, 15. Joe Ofahengaue, 16. Alex Twal, 17. Tom Mikaele

Tyrone Peachey brings experience and versatility to the Tigers in 2022
Tyrone Peachey brings experience and versatility to the Tigers in 2022
© Wests Tigers

Key changes

Playmaker Jackson Hastings is the big recruiter as he returned from a UK stay and should start in the half due to Doueihi’s injury. English national team player Oliver Gildart is expected to take one of the center positions with Michael Chee Kam and Joey Leilua away and Tommy Talau out. Doueihi and Talau will both miss the first part of the season and open the second center spot for someone like Reece Hoffman or AJ Kepaoa.

Health check

As mentioned, Doueihi and Talau (both ACL) underwent knee reconstructions very late in 2021 and will be missed for some time. There were a host of others absent towards the end of 2021, but all of them should hopefully be suitable for the trials.

Jackson Hastings is eager to make an impact in his return to the NRL
Jackson Hastings is eager to make an impact in his return to the NRL
© Wests Tigers

Biggest question mark

Playmaking was without a doubt the club’s biggest problem last season, with Brooks constantly under pressure and Doueihi mixing between center and five-eighth, while the lack of a mobile, ball-playing lock left the team far from the top teams in terms of attacking opportunities. Whether Hastings and Peachey are the men to solve the halves and the locking problems remains to be seen.

Opening month

The Tigers start with a home game at CommBank Stadium, but it’s a tough question against Storm. In the second round, they go up the M1 to face Newcastle, and then it’s a five-day turnaround for a Campbelltown showdown against the Warriors before a trip to the Gold Coast to face the Titans in round four.

Hardest stretch

Michael Maguire’s men will not be popular with tippers between rounds five and nine, as they face a series of four away games in five rounds, with the big finalists in South Sydney out to spoil a CommBank home game in round seven. Outside, the tigers travel to the Shire, face the eels on their CommBank home track and hop on the bus to Wollongong and Brookvale.



Inside Tigers pre-season training

Let it count

Tiger’s best chance to make a statement comes towards the end of the Origin period, where the site is likely to have few if any players involved, but to meet a mix of teams that could be hit hard or that are unexpected by 2022 the finals. The Bulldogs, Warriors, Cowboys, and Broncos all present potentially winning games, while the Eels in Round 17 will be missing any Origin stars, and the Panthers in Round 18 will have Origin players either sitting out or backing up.

NRL Fantasy: Wests Tigers 2022 Awards
Alex Twal: MID, $ 683,000
Adam Doueihi: WFB / HLF, $ 670,000
Luciano Leilua: EDG, $ 659,000
Jacob Liddle: HOK, $ 629,000
Luke Brooks: HLF, $ 590,000
Stefano Utoikamanu: MID, $ 557,000
Tyrone Peachey: MID / HLF, $ 528,000
Daine Laurie: WFB, $ 523,000
Luke Garner: EDG, $ 521,000
James Tamou: MID, $ 477,000
Joe Ofahengaue: MID, $ 469,000
David Nofoaluma: WFB, $ 455,000
Jackson Hastings: HLF, $ 450,000
Ken Maumalo: WFB, $ 410,000
Jake Simpkin: HOK, $ 403,000
Olivier Gildart: CTR, $ 400,000
Thomas Mikaele: MID, $ 393,000
Alex Seyfarth: MID, $ 358,000
Shawn Blore: EDG, $ 357,000
Zane Musgrove: MID, $ 310,000
Kelma Tuilagi: EDG, $ 310,000
Tommy Talau: CTR / WFB, $ 295,000
Jock Madden: HLF, $ 270,000
Tukimihia Simpkins: EDG, $ 260,000
Bor i Kepaoa: WFB, $ 240,000
Reece Hoffman: WFB, $ 240,000
William Kei: CTR, $ 220,000

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