Squad Breakdown: Wests Tigers SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the Wests Tigers SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 NRL season.

NRL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

The Wests Tigers will be out to break a long-running NRL finals drought in 2022, but it won’t come easy as they look to build some stability within their roster.

While they lack star-power, they do boast solid depth that will prove pivotal in a season where disruptions seem inevitable.

A very kind draw to start the season, including a Melbourne outfit missing Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Harry Grant, significantly enhances their SuperCoach credentials to begin the year.

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They kick off their campaign with games against the Storm (H), Knights (A), Warriors (H), Titans (A) and Sharks (A).

With our predicted teams, for SuperCoach purposes we’ve included any players returning from injury/suspension in the first three rounds in the starting line-up.

This combines both the likely starting teams and best 17s, as initial price changes occur after Round 3.

Let’s take a look at the Tigers’ SuperCoach prospects to begin the new season.

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1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Oliver Gildart 4. James Roberts 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jackson Hastings 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jake Simpkin 10. James Tamou 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal

Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Zane Musgrove 17. Joe Ofahengaue

Injuries/suspensions: Adam Doueihi (knee, mid-season), Tommy Talau (knee, mid-season), Shawn Blore (ACL, season), Jacob Liddle (knee, Round 3/4).

Analysis: Another really difficult roster to predicted here and one that will likely change as the trials kick off.

The backline largely picks itself, outside of the centre gig that I feel they’ll give to James Roberts, but Starford To’a will be strongly considered.

Youngster Junior Tupou is highly regarded, while Asu Kepaoa will be considered when fully fit.

I feel Peachey will be utilised at the bench utility and will spend his time in the middle of the ruck.

If Jacob Liddle’s body won’t allow him to play 80, Peachey can deputise at hooker to give him a spell.

He’ll miss the first month of action with a knee injury, meaning Jake Simpkin likely starts at hooker.

Shawn Blore suffered a season-ending ACL injury at training in a huge blow to the club.

Luke Garner didn’t feature in trials, meaning Kelma Tuilagi is firming to start on the edge.

There’s numerous options that will be considered as starting lock.

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I feel a little harsh in writing it, but without Adam Doueihi the Tigers are lacking SuperCoach guns.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t SuperCoach value at the club.

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David Nofoaluma // $467,600 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 53.3

It doesn’t look right having Nofa outside of the guns, but when we’re seeing the likes of To’o and Garrick at up to $300k more it’s hard not to classify Nofa as a mid-ranger.

The man is the full SuperCoach package at CTW, but a tough season for the Tigers didn’t help his cause in 2021 as he regressed to comfortably his lowest average since 2018.

More than results, it was more his lack of ball and utilisation in attacking territory that cause his average to plummet.

His base dropped from 31 per game in 2020, down to 26 last season.

Despite the scoring drop, he did still manage a respectable 13 tries in 24 games.

He’s priced at his bottom, so looking back on his prior averages of 76 and 65 he’s enticing.

Did Adam Doueihi stunt his scoring? Will Jackson Hasting enhance it?

All questions we’ll know shortly, and there are far worse options than Nofa at a stunningly low 2.6% ownership.

I just want to see the Tigers fire in attack before considering.

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Jackson Hastings // $350,700 // HFB-5/8 // 2021 Ave: –

Hastings returns to the NRL after a stunning Super League stint that saw him named Man of Steel in 2019 (Dally M equivalent).

While I appreciate this won’t be overly helpful, I’m finding him very hard to assess despite having watched plenty of his UK stint, the reason?

Historically Australian halves find themselves struggling in the NRL, head to England, kill it, return, and are back to square one as middling sort of playmakers back home.

With it comes fairly poor SuperCoach scoring.

Hastings isn’t in that boat as ability isn’t what forced him out of the NRL, it was more off-field relationships that appear to have pushed him over there.

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He returns a more mature footballer, and is likely to buck the above trend, but to what degree? The fact he left fairly young makes it even harder to interpret.

While I’m not convinced on him as a buy, the way I see it is that at $350k he shouldn’t produce poor enough scores to lose value.

I think worst case scenario he holds value and we can upgrade/downgrade accordingly.

The easy draw to start the season helps, so while not locked in, he’s in my team as things stand.

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Stefano Utoikamanu // $457,200 // FRF // 2021 Ave: 52.1

Currently in just under 29% of teams, big Stefano is another I’m not entirely convinced of, but there’s a serious case to be made based on how he ended last season.

In 2021, he averaged 52 points in 45 minutes, with 39 in base.

In the final eight games he started at prop, averaging 56 minutes, 66 points and 48 in base.

Note that he did score three tries in this period, but he did score three others prior to that.

That’s okay, we want FRFs with try-scoring ability, even at the risk of inflated past point scoring.

If he can start and maintain 55 minutes of game time he can definitely average 60+, making him a very viable option.

At an awkward price I’m pretty happy to watch the minutes unfold, but I don’t mind him as an early play, and I haven’t put a line through him for my side either.

He’s another who shouldn’t be losing too much value at worst case.

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Oliver Gildart // $280,000 // CTW // 2021 Ave: –

The Englishman comes over and is expected to start at centre for his NRL debut.

He’s awkwardly priced, but cheaply priced if he can bring his UK form over with him.

Historically though, English backs have struggled to emulate their Super League feats Down Under.

For that reason, I’m steering clear early, if he fires in the opening rounds he’s very affordable to snap up.

He’ll be a very close watch in the club’s final trial with the Roosters, and his ownership could skyrocket if he produces the goods.

There’s a host of other potential cheapies in the ranks, including William Kei and Kelma Tuilagi, but let’s wait and see how the remainder of the pre-season unfolds to assess if they have genuine round 1 credentials.

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Luciano Leilua // $539,900 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 61.6

Leilua is always a genuine option and is a borderline gun, but I like plenty more back-row option in the $500-600k price range, hence the avoid.

He’s averaged 62 points per game the past two seasons in close to maximum minutes, basing at 43.5 in that time.

Across 44 games in that period he’s had just two tonnes, hardly poor, but I’m chasing more frequent centuries.

He could absolutely become an option during the year, but I think it’ll require the Tigers to fire to eventuate.

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