Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Speculation over the Wests Tigers halves situation for 2022 has been rampant, with Luke Brooks seemingly on the outer at the club, reportedly being shopped around to other clubs.
However, yesterday’s clash between the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers has brought an often forgotten factor back to the forefront of this ordeal, Jock Madden.
In the 21-year-old’s first start in the NRL, Madden notched up 287 kick metres, 13 post-contact metres, averaged 51 running metres, and made 28 tackles, missing five.
Madden was also excelling in the Knock-On Effect New South Wales Cup competition for the Western Suburbs Magpies earlier this season before the league was cancelled for the remainder of 2021, with the half scoring 130 points for the season, more than any other player.
At the end of 2022, Madden will be off-contract and is free to negotiate with rival clubs from November 1st this year, which may be something piquing his interest, as it seems Madden will not be in the Tigers first-grade plans in 2022 with Jackson Hastings arriving at the club and Adam Doueihi excelling at five-eighth.
The Wests Tigers strongest lineup heading into 2022 would have Doueihi and Hastings partnering each other in the halves; however, in doing so the club is risking pushing away what is potentially a generational talent in Madden, which could be a decision that severely impacts them in the long term, so there are options to fit him into the side.
Both Jackson Hastings and Adam Doueihi can play multiple positions, meaning one could make way for Madden and still stay in the side.
Hastings has been touted as a potential ball-playing lock, similar to the role Moses Mbye was playing for the Tigers when coming off of the bench in 2021 and could be used at hooker, although you would then not only be pushing Jacob Liddle out of the side but 19-year-old prodigy Jake Simpkin too.
Doueihi can play in both the centres and at fullback.
It is highly unlikely he would move to fullback due to Daine Laurie’s exceptional form in the position this year but could move to centre to create a formidable partnership with incoming England International and Super League Grand Final winner Oliver Gildart.
The 23-year-old played six games at centre this season, between rounds 10 and 16.
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