The benefit of Taupau's departure
As the Wests Tigers commenced pre-season training for the 2016 NRL season on Monday coach Jason Taylor and senior forward Aaron Woods outlined a core benefit of the departure of Martin Taupau, with the former labelling it a "simple decision".
While he wouldn't have had to report to pre-season training considering his duties with the Kiwis are far from over, there was still a notable absence at Tigers training in Taupau who last week signed a four-year deal with Manly.
Now handed the ability to shore up the Tigers' young talent long-term, Taylor was happy to stick to his guns in allowing the 25-year-old depart.
"In the end Marty's was a decision which was based around what's best for the club going forward," Taylor said.
"We made a good offer to Marty, we were comfortable our offer was on the money so when he decided he would move on that was fine and that was always going to happen in 2017.
"Then it became a decision as far as letting Marty go early which could really help us in securing some of best young players. Not just best players, but best forwards which is where Marty plays.
"To have kept him for another year and then risk losing some of those guys, it would've been a really silly decision for the club to have made so it became a simple decision."
With forwards Manaia Cherrington, Kyle Lovett and Lamar Liolevave making their NRL debuts last season, Taylor is confident in the club's depth for the season ahead.
Furthermore the club has signed Sea Eagle Michael Chee-Kam, Ipswich Jets duo Rod Griffin and Billy McConnachie and Raider Joel Edwards for 2016 to bulk up the Tigers' forward pack.
On top of that, the club is expected to sign former State of Origin and Manly hooker Matt Ballin this week.
"It's right that the club is in talks with Matt Ballin. Nothing has been finalised there but it's getting fairly close and that just means there is really good competition," Taylor said.
"I've talked numerous times about a lack of depth at the club we have had in the past and we have worked really hard in the off-season to build on that.
"With the squad assembling here [on Monday] there were a number of guys that have an attitude of I want to play in this first grade team and that's why I'm here.
"There's not just 17 of those, there's 30-odd and that makes for great competition for positions right across the team and that's how we'll move forward."
Woods went on to sing the praises of some of the Tigers' untapped potential, and was excited by the possibility of both young and old in veteran Ballin.
"There's a couple of young front-rowers like JJ Felise who are going to be good players but need a big pre-season to bulk up a bit and get their fitness levels right," Woods said.
"Our depth is going to be good especially with the couple of players we have bought as well from Ipswich so I think we'll be right.
"We have a lot of good young guys coming through. We have big Dallas Graham too who missed a lot of last year due to a shoulder reconstruction.
"[As for Ballin] he'll add a bit of experience. That's probably the only thing we didn't have as much of after losing a couple of players over the last few years."