Ivan Cleary came on board in 2017; however, it was more of the same unfortunately for long-suffering Tigers fans with the boys finishing the season in 14th place, winning just seven games.
Coming into 2018 the Tigers have made some solid signings in Josh Reynolds and Ben Matulino; however, there are obviously the huge losses James Tedesco and Aaron Woods, which presents significant question marks over a young Tigers outfit. A finish above 13th is highly unlikely, especially with the horror draw early on. Let’s hope this leads to some rookies being blooded throughout the year!
Ins: Mahe Fonua (Hull FC, 2019), Tyson Gamble (2019), Heath Gibbs (2018), Pita Godinet (Manly Sea Eagles, 2018), Tuimoala Lolohea (New Zealand Warriors, 2019), Benji Marshall (Brisbane Broncos, 2018), Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors, 2020), Sam McIntyre (2018), Chris McQueen (Gold Coast Titans, 2020), Thomas Mikaele (2018), Taane Milne (St George Illawarra Dragons, 2019), Russell Packer (St George Illawarra Dragons, 2021), Josh Reynolds (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2021), Robbie Rochow (Melbourne Storm, 2019), Dylan Smith (2018), Corey Thompson (Widnes Vikings, 2019), Alex Twal (Parramatta Eels, 2020), Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers, 2018)
Outs: Matt Ballin (retired), Joel Edwards (released), Justin Hunt (retired), Jamal Idris (retired), Jack Littlejohn (Salford Red Devils), Kyle Lovett (Leigh Centurions), Jeremy Marshall-King (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels), Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm), Jordan Rankin (Huddersfield Giants), Ava Seumanufagai (Cronulla Sharks), Moses Suli (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Junior Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs), James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters), Aaron Woods (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
(All per Zero Tackle)
Likely 17 (Rd 1)
1. Corey Thompson, 2. Malakai Watene-Zalezniak, 3. Esan Marsters, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 5. David Nofoaluma, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Matt McIlwrick, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Chris Lawrence, 12. Robbie Rochow, 13. Matt Eisenhuth, 14. Elijah Taylor, 15. Alex Twal, 16. Tim Grant, 17. Chris McQueen
Unavailable: Jacob Liddle (shoulder).
The Tigers’ Round 1 side is arguably the hardest in the competition to pick, with Ivan Cleary doing plenty of pre-season experimentation to find the formula he’s comfortable with. Corey Thompson has been a clear standout and is set to win the No.1 jersey from Tui Lolohea. Taane Milne also looks to be under pressure, with Kevin Naiqama trialling at centre and Malakai Watene-Zalezniak pressing his claims for a wing spot. Elijah Taylor and Chris McQueen have both battled injuries leading into Round 1 and that might cost them starting jerseys, with Matt Eisenhuth looking to grab the lock jersey and Taylor a good option to play some hooker minutes in the opening rounds while Jacob Liddle is sidelined.
(all per Fox Sports)
Fox have nailed the above analysis so not much more to add, this is one team we will all be waiting to see named come Tuesday afternoon!
- Six Sunday afternoon (4.10pm) games, the most in the competition
- Play each of 2017’s top four sides in the first four rounds.
- Play the Storm and Eels twice in the first eight rounds, taking their tally of top four opponents to six before Origin I.
- Play a total of seven games against top four opponents.
- Play just four games against bottom four opponents.
- Three five-day turnarounds, the most in the competition
(per Fox Sports)
Wow – this is horrible! Roosters, Storm, Broncos, Eels over the first 4 weeks – far out! The Storm again in Rd5, then Manly in Rd6 before finally some respite (maybe) with the Knights in Rd7. Man oh man that is tough!
David Nofoaluma ($563,600) – With past averages of 47, 52, 60 and most recently 64, he has risen to become a legitimate CTW gun despite playing in one of the worst performing NRL side. A 2017 average that included 31 PPG from base and 26 PPG from evading statistics puts him in the same class as Rapana, with the key differentiation being the lack of tries. Nofo scored just eight tries last season (14 in 2016) compared to Rapana’s 21. In addition to this, Nofo made the most intercepts last year with six, but this only adds around 1-1.5 PPG to his prior year average.
Whilst the opening draw is a shocker, with the base statistics that he produces Nofo shouldn’t be impacted as much as others and is still one to consider.
Check out the full Nofo preview in our Six of Six series here.
Elijah Taylor ($482,600) – Taylor is a workhorse, but it is never going to translate into huge SuperCoach points and with far less bye planning required this year players like Taylor shouldn’t really come into consideration. The early season injury to Jacob Liddle could mean he plays some time at hooker, resulting in increased minutes; however, all he will do is tackle and this is not Dream Team circa 2010 anymore. Sure he might average 50-odd PPG but that’s not going to win you the big bucks and in my opinion he should not be owned, even if he is playing 80 minutes.
Corey Thompson ($319,500) – I’ve listed him here because it is almost certain that he’s ownership stocks are likely to rise once he is named as the Tigers’ starting fullback. Please don’t do this! He’s not even that cheap and now might be a good time to scroll up and read the Tigers early season draw again. YUCK!
Also, his initials are not JT.
Chris McQueen ($329,700) – He could start the season in the back-row or he could come off the bench – who knows! His PPM has been between 0.56 & 0.68 the last 4 years, which using 0.6 as the base would mean that he needs to play about 62 MPG just to hold his current value. I can’t see that happening and as such I would stay away. With far less upside when compared to others at lower prices, avoid McQueen this year.
Ben Matulino ($459,800) – Matulino is another player to find a new home in 2018 and he is effectively a direct replacement for the outgoing Woods at the Tigers. 2017 was not a happy year for the former Warrior, playing just the 16 games compared to 23 and 21 in the two previous seasons. To borrow term from podcast regular, Perso, he has been effectively a SuperCoach bum in all but one year (2015), where he averaged 62 PPG at 1.07 PPM thanks in part to 2.5 offloads per game. He managed just 0.75 offloads per game in 2017.
If he can play more minutes, whilst regaining his offload then he would certainly start the season under priced.
Robbie Rochow ($242,600) – Rochow’s SuperCoach output fell off a cliff last year as he found himself no more than a rotation player at Souths, playing just nine games and averaging a pathetic 27 PPG in 33 MPG. However, with a starting role in each of the Tigers’ trial games to date and past averages of 51, 56, 50 and 55 he is certainly worth some thought this year. With a career high PPM of 0.9 he has burnt people in the past, but if he is able to lock down 50-60 MPG at Tigers this year then he could prove to be a very handy cash cow early on. The fact that he is a DPP is also an obvious positive.
Taane Milne ($192,800) – Tanne ‘the myth’ Milne. Owned in almost 50% of all SuperCoach teams has gone from being almost a lock for your CTW / 2RF to facing extinction. He is yet to be selected in either of the starting trial sides for the Tigers with others preferred and his position in our teams all depends on TLT.
Watson Heleta ($164,600) – Heleta has big wraps on him and has threatened to break through for a couple of years without success. Just one to watch later in the year, he won’t be Round 1 relevant, but he might come into play later on in the season.