With the Wests Tigers preparing to play their final game of the season this weekend, Tiger Talk’s Ben Chenoweth and Jess Layt look back on the best and the worst moments of season 2017.
Ben Chenoweth: Off-field distractions turned the entire Wests Tigers organisation into a laughing stock.
The sacking of former coach Jason Taylor after just a few rounds showed the people running the club really had no idea what they were – and still are – doing.
To create an environment so toxic that the three most talented juniors feel the need to jump ship is simply not good enough.
It certainly hasn’t been a year to remember for fans.
Jess Layt: The Tim Simona drama at the start of the season was just another off-field controversy the club did not need.
For a player who seemed to be well-loved by the fans to leave the Wests Tigers under such awful circumstances – accused, and later convicted, of selling football merchandise for ‘charity’ but keeping the money – was a kick in the guts the fans, who had already suffered a lot, did not need.
Ben Chenoweth: Wests Tigers have always been one of the best when it comes to developing juniors – and 2017 certainly unearthed some future superstars.
Jacob Liddle looks like a genuine first grader and will only get better as his frame gets bigger.
Esan Marsters has been a standout in the centres and the ball playing backrower will be even more dangerous when he moves closer to the middle of the field.
Expect a big 2018 for prop JJ Felise too.
Jess Layt: The heart and fighting spirit showed by the Wests Tigers in the final few weeks of the season has been wonderful.
They might not have come away with as many wins as fans would have hoped for, but there can be no doubt they were in the game. This is a marked turnaround from earlier in the season, when it often seemed the team was down and out as soon as the first siren sounded.
Also positive, Ivan Cleary. He’s a steady head to lead the ship and will only get better with a full pre-season.