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Here is all you need to know about the Wests Tigers ahead of the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.

The Lowdown

Overview

It was another long year for Tigers fans, with occasional flashes of promise and some emerging youngsters in between periods of underperformance and another year out of the finals. The return of 2005 premiership coach Tim Sheens as director of football has already had a positive effect with Api Koroisau and Isaiah Papali'i agreeing to terms for 2023 but they the cub needs to take some big strides in 2022 to give those stars something to work off.

Possible best 17

1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Oliver Gildart, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Jackson Hastings, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Stefano Utoikamanu, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Tyrone Peachey, 14.Jake Simpkin, 15. Joe Ofahengaue, 16. Alex Twal, 17. Tom Mikaele

Tyrone Peachey brings experience and versatility to the Tigers in 2022
Tyrone Peachey brings experience and versatility to the Tigers in 2022 ©Wests Tigers

Key changes

Playmaker Jackson Hastings is the big-name recruit in his return from a UK stint and should start in the halves given Doueihi's injury. England international Oliver Gildart is expected to take one of the centre slots with Michael Chee Kam and Joey Leilua gone and Tommy Talau out. Doueihi and Talau will both miss the first part of the season, opening up the other centre slot for someone like Reece Hoffman or AJ Kepaoa.

Health check

As mentioned, Doueihi and Talau (both ACL) underwent knee reconstructions very late in 2021 and will be missing for some time. There were a host of other absentees towards the end of 2021 but all should hopefully be fit for the trials.

Jackson Hastings is keen to make an impact in his return to the NRL
Jackson Hastings is keen to make an impact in his return to the NRL ©Wests Tigers

Biggest question mark

Playmaking was arguably the club's biggest issue last season, with Brooks constantly under pressure and Doueihi shuffled between centre and five-eighth while the lack of a mobile, ball-playing lock left the team well adrift of the top sides in terms of attacking options. Whether Hastings and Peachey are the men to solve the halves and lock issues remains to be seen.

Opening month

The Tigers kick off with a home game at CommBank stadium, but it's a tough ask against the Storm. Round two sees them head up the M1 to face Newcastle, then it's a five-day turnaround into a Campbelltown clash against the Warriors before a trip to the Gold Coast to face the Titans in round four.

Toughest stretch

Michael Maguire's men won't be popular with tipsters between rounds five and nine as they face a run of four away games in five rounds, with grand finalists South Sydney out to spoil a CommBank home game in round seven. Outside that the Tigers travel to the Shire, face the Eels on their CommBank home patch and hop on the bus to Wollongong and Brookvale.

Inside Tigers pre-season training

Make it count

The Tigers' best chance to make a statement comes towards the end of the Origin period, with the side likely to have few if any players involved but meeting a mix of teams that could be heavily affected or that are unfancied for the 2022 finals. The Bulldogs, Warriors, Cowboys and Broncos all present potentially winnable games while the Eels in round 17 will be missing any Origin stars and the Panthers in round 18 will have Origin players either sitting out or backing up.

NRL Fantasy: Wests Tigers 2022 prices
Alex Twal: MID, $683,000
Adam Doueihi: WFB/HLF, $670,000
Luciano Leilua: EDG $659,000
Jacob Liddle: HOK, $629,000
Luke Brooks: HLF, $590,000
Stefano Utoikamanu: MID, $557,000
Tyrone Peachey: MID/HLF, $528,000
Daine Laurie: WFB, $523,000
Luke Garner: EDG, $521,000
James Tamou: MID, $477,000
Joe Ofahengaue: MID, $469,000
David Nofoaluma: WFB, $455,000
Jackson Hastings: HLF, $450,000
Ken Maumalo: WFB, $410,000
Jake Simpkin: HOK, $403,000
Olivier Gildart: CTR, $400,000
Thomas Mikaele: MID, $393,000
Alex Seyfarth: MID, $358,000
Shawn Blore: EDG, $357,000
Starford To'a: WFB, $346,000
Zane Musgrove: MID, $310,000
Kelma Tuilagi: EDG, $310,000
Tommy Talau: CTR/WFB, $295,000
Jock Madden: HLF, $270,000
Tukimihia Simpkins: EDG, $260,000
Asu Kepaoa: WFB, $240,000
Reece Hoffman: WFB, $240,000
William Kei: CTR, $220,000