Timely return for cool-hand Luke
It was a timely return for Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks.
Brooks was a late inclusion for the match against the Bulldogs after overcoming a hamstring injury, performed strongly and helped deliver the match-winning play for the Kevin Naiqama four-pointer at the death.
With James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitchell Moses' future all up in the air, the 22-year-old re-committed to the club last Tuesday for a further two seasons and was pleased with his contribution in the side's six-point win after a disruptive week for the club.
"It was a win we needed, we’re not really known for our toughness but we toughed it out today," Brooks said post-game.
"When you always go for a field goal, there is always a chance you can score a try off it.
"I was pretty happy with the little ricochet, it was about time something went our way.
"[The hamstring] pulled up good… I had a fitness test before the captain's run on Saturday and I think the physios were a bit nervous but I was confident going into the game and it pulled up fine."
The Holy Cross junior admitted his decision to stay at the joint venture could have played a part in his on-field performance with his future now sorted providing some stability and assurance beyond this season.
"Maybe [the re-signing] did help a little bit, I felt good coming into this game," he said.
"I was a lot more relaxed and confident before the game and I felt that showed out there."
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary coached Brooks for the first time on Sunday and liked what he saw from the returning halfback.
"It was a late [decision to play him] and you could certainly tell it gave the boys a lift," he said of Brooks.
"He gives us a lot more options in our kicking game and attack.
"For his first game back there was a bit of rust on occasions but I thought he was very willing and it was good for him to come up with that last play which ended up getting us the win.
"It will be good for his confidence."
Labelled as one of the "big four" for the last 12 months has not sat right with either of the quartet and Brooks was relieved there was at least a silver lining ahead with his teammates futures being sorted – albeit in a messy fashion.
"I think the frustrating thing is people think we’re saying we're the big four but we've never said that," Brooks said of the reference.
"You try and avoid it but it’s really hard, you jump on Facebook and it’s popping up everywhere.
"In a perfect world [you want them all to stay] but it’s not always going to happen and that’s footy. You’re not going to always play with whomever you want to play with.
"I just let them make their decision - it’s not up to me, it’s up to them."
Should Tedesco and Moses move on, it shapes as an interesting household with the trio recently moving in together at a place in the Inner West of Sydney.
Brooks joked there was plenty of dining out involved and heaps of banter.
"Obviously we are at footy all the time so we don’t really want to talk about that stuff at home," he said.
"I thought it would be hard [moving out] because when I was back home my Mum and grandmother did it all for me but it’s only washing clothes and stuff.
"We haven't cooked a meal at home yet but no KFC."