2010 in review - Wests Tigers (3rd and Preliminary Finalists)
At the start of 2010 the Tigers again had a promising line up, but were still regarded as long shots based on their poor showing in every season since winning their maiden title back in 2005.
The Tigers were again quiet in the signings department during the off-season and by the start of the 2010 season, depth again in the backs looked to be a burgeoning issue, especially in the halves, where the Tigers have struggled ever since the departure of Scott Prince
However, their attack got them off to a good start before a shaky yet successful run in the middle of the season kept them at the business end of the ladder and secured them their second finals campaign.
An epic battle against the Roosters, an inspiring win with an injury ravaged side against a highly fancied Raiders outfit saw them reach the Grand Final qualifier, however they went down to eventual premiers the Dragons in another hard fought battle.
The Tigers performance in 2010 was not surprising, but somehow also not expected. Everyone knew they were a much better side than their performances sometimes showed and in 2010 they finally showed just that.
In 2010, it was the Tigers forwards who were the big performers. Often criticised in the past for being too small and too soft, the Tigers pack lifted for 2010. Most notably Gareth Ellis
, Chris Heighington
and Bryce Gibbs
all stepped up another notch, taking their game to newer heights.
was also again a stand out player and led his troops brilliantly all year, earning another Test Jumper in the 4 Nations.
Young centre Chris Law
rence was also in great form for the entirety of the season which saw him make his debut test appearance in the 4 Nations this year. Blake Ayshford
finally showed how brilliant he really can near the end of the season and proved to be a more than capable replacement for Dean Collis, who departed the club at the end of 2009.
had one of his more consistent seasons yet and started to show glimpses of maturity and experience hardly ever seen before. His form especially in the second half of the season was devastating, which he continued into the 4 Nations for the victorious Kiwi's. So good has Marshall been this year he has become a front runner for the Golden Boot award.
Young Guns Wests Tigers
have always been very good at blooding their own local juniors. In 2010 Andrew Fifita
made his debut and ended up with 22 first grade games in his first season. Ben Murdoch-Masila
made his debut in the finals and looks to be a regular on the bench for 2011. Both these two along with Simon Dwyer who made his debut last season, and Jason Shirnack are the new batch of Tigers forwards coming through.
The Tigers had reasonably well performing players all across the park in 2010; however a few players suffered more heavily from poor form than others. Most notably was Beau Ryan
, who started the season brilliantly at fullback, but his form gradually went downhill over the rest of the season.
was another who would have more quiet games than great ones. He showed glimpses of the brilliance that the coach and players have been talking about all year, but it was too few and far between.
2011 appears to be a season to grow on their stellar 2010 efforts. There appears to be little to no change to the first grade squad that was so successful in 2010. There are no major new signings on the horizons, however there isn't really much more that the Tigers squad needs as they have strength in their backs, halves and forwards and some good forward depth. The Tigers could prove to be in the top 6 again for 2011.