Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Wests Tigers have become synonymous with allowing world-class talent to become stars at other teams, and with the club in the middle of a rebuild that they hope can end next season, the Tigers must know who to let go and who to keep.
So far their transfer business for 2022 has been solid, with Jackson Hastings and Oliver Gildart coming in, and the likes of Moses Mbye, Luke Brooks and Joseph Leilua seemingly on the out.
While these moves are promising, and there could be more exits from the club to come, the Tigers mustn’t go overboard as they must hold on to these three players in particular.
Adam Doueihi’s versatility has been of great use to the Tigers since joining the club in 2020.
The 22-year-old has been utilised we’ll at both fullback and recently in the centres; however, this season he has done more than enough to lock down the five-eighth role at the Tigers for years to come.
Doueihi has proven a menace in attack in 2022, scoring seven tries, assisting 15, making six line breaks, 35 tackle breaks and averaging 96 running metres per game.
It will be interesting to see how he and incoming Jackson Hastings play together next season.
At the start of season 2021, one of the biggest concerns punters had for the Tigers was their lack of an out and out fullback.
Since Daine Laurie’s debut, however, that chatter stopped as Wests had found their number one, possibly for the next decade.
For the first quarter of the season Laurie looked the likely candidate for Dally M Rookie of the Year, and still could take the honour but faces some stiff competition.
Laurie’s strong areas this season have been similar to Doueihi’s as are highlighted in his stats, as the 22-year-old has scored seven tries, assisted seven, made nine line breaks and 69 tackle breaks, but has averaged 140 running metres per game which is the big difference between him and Doueihi.
With stats like these as a 22-year-old fullback, it is safe to say that the sky’s the limit for Laurie.
When Luciano and his brother Joseph Leilua signed the Tigers in 2020, all the talk was about Joseph; however, Luciano has not only outplayed his brother but the rest of the Tigers’ forward pack consistently.
In 2021 alone, the Samoan International has notched up 512 tackles, with an efficiency rate of 92.9%, whilst also proving a wrecking ball and metre eater in attack with 114 average running metres per game.