Tigers snare young halves stars
Wests Tigers have announced the re-signing of three of the game’s brightest young prospects plus the return of a favourite son.
The club has secured the services for the next four years of talented 18-year-old halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses from 2014 and NSW Cup hooker Joel Luani on a two-year deal. Wests Tigers welcome ‘home’ experienced utility Dene Halatau for the next two years.
Coach Mick Potter said Brooks and Moses were very good prospects and just two of the many talented youngsters coming through the club.
“Both boys have plenty of potential and are talented kids in their own right,’’ Potter said.
“They have shown right throughout schoolboy footy and the NYC that they can cut it easily. I have no doubt that we will see the best of them in the next couple of years.”
Brooks and Moses are in their first season in the Wests Tigers Holden Cup team after rising through the Balmain Tigers junior representative ranks. Moses was named the NSWRL SG Ball Player of the Year in 2012 and both were members of the 2012 Australian Schoolboys team with Brooks representing the NSW Under-20s team this year. Brooks has also had a taste of the NSW Cup.
“I have played all of my junior footy at the Tigers so it was a pretty easy decision to make,’’ Brooks said.
“Wests Tigers have looked after me well. The first grade players have helped me so much already on and off the field. I have so much still to learn. I’m excited about what lies ahead.”
Moses said he was more than happy to stay at Wests Tigers.
“The club has looked after me really well over the past three years so I didn’t want to go anywhere else’’ Moses said.
“Mick Potter and the first grade players have made me feel really welcome and have helped me out so much with my game. This is just the beginning for me.”
Halatau returns to Wests Tigers following four seasons with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. The hard-working back-rower made his NRL debut for Wests Tigers in 2003 and was a member of the Club’s inaugural premiership winning team in 2005. Halatau spent seven seasons at Wests Tigers before leaving for the Bulldogs. He is highly regarded off the field and is already involved in the NRL’s Apprentice Mentor program.
Club CEO Grant Mayer says that the signing of Halatau was about much more than just football.
“His experience and leadership as a senior player is going to be invaluable for some of our younger players. We have been very clear that we are investing very heavily in our juniors and a player like Dene will provide leadership and mentoring for the group. This is a strong signing for the club as he adds depth to our club both on and off the field. Dene has a fantastic reputation in the game as a true leader.”
Potter said Luani, a member of the premiership winning Wests Tigers NYC team from last season, was another young player with plenty of potential.
“Joel has been playing a back-up role at hooker and in the back row for the Wests Tigers NSW Cup team,’’ Potter said.
“He is still very young but he has got a good shape about him and has a very bright future. He will be a good back-up for Robbie Farah when he is unavailable."