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Wests Tigers name 15th anniversary team
The Wests Tigers have paid tribute to some of their greatest players by announcing their 15th year anniversary team at a function at Doltone House in Pyrmont.
The club has seen 176 players wear the black, gold and white in their history, from Matthew Lodge the most recent (#176) to Joel Caine, the first named player in Round 1, 2000.
Taniela Tuiaki remains implanted in the minds of Wests Tigers fans as he grew to cult figure status before a career ending injury in 2009. Current captain Robbie Farah reminisced about the man referred to simply as 'The Tank' and has no doubt if he was play NRL today, he would be a class above.
"It was sad how it [was] ended by Taniela" said Farah, "There's no doubt he'd still be killing it with us today. No doubt at all"
Pat Richards was part of the historic 2005 Premiership winning team and has been honoured as one of the club's greatest wingers. Richards says it was an easy choice when the opportunity came to return to Australia after playing 8 years with the Wigan Warriors.
"When the opportunity came to come back to the NRL, there was no other club I wanted to come back to", Richards reflected.
John Skandalis has been part of Wests Tigers from day one and believes what happened with the joint venture has been incredible.
"Putting on that first jersey for Wests Tigers was special. To come together in that team was simply incredible", John recollected
The final honour came as Liam Fulton was announced as the club's best Lock following the news he has retired from Rugby League due to several concussions.
The Wests Tigers 15th year team is as follows:
Fullback: Brett Hodgson (#77)
Wings: Pat Richards (#87) and Taniela Tuiaki (#101)
Centres: Chris Lawrence (#104) and Paul Whatuira (#90)
Five-eighth: Benji Marshall (#70)
Halfback: Scott Prince (#79)
Hooker: Robbie Farah (#67)
Props: Aaron Woods (#142) and John Skandalis (#15)
Second Rowers: Gareth Ellis (#120) and Mark O'Neill (#17)
Lock-Forward: Liam Fulton (#74)
Bench: Todd Payten (#82), Ben Galea (#32), Anthony Laffranchi (#50) and Chris Heighington (#60)