Firstly, I’m not worried about reports of the $1 million funding shortfall. We’ve seen these stories before. The Titans were going to close their doors, the Sharks were going to relocate to Perth and now the Magpies are going to rise from the ashes. The board is a rabble, but for the love of Moltzen, this is the wake-up call we’ve been waiting for. This is the lowest of the low – Alan Jones and Sydney Tigers low – Terry Lamb and John Hopoate low. Grant Mayer will slowly but surely get this thing moving in the right direction. It’s going to hurt, but it will happen.
Something that didn’t happen slowly was the spectacular fall from grace of Benjamin Quentin Marshall. Put simply, Benji shit the bed. He left a giant steamer on his orange, black and white bedsheets and received some incredibly poor advice along the way. Benji Marshall’s departure is the best thing that could happen to the Tigers. He was a very good Robin, but an absolutely awful Batman. Now he’s just the Joker, constantly taking the piss.
I can’t be bothered talking about Benji’s lack of form, but I don’t agree with dropping him. Promoting Luke Brooks in Round 24 achieves absolutely nothing. It puts undue pressure on the young bloke to deliver a win and forces him to play alongside dropkicks like Anasta, Ayshford and Iosefa while Robbie Farah watches from the bench. Brooks’ time will come, and it will come in Round 1, 2014. Until then, keep his confidence high, let him lead the NYC boys to the finals and force Benji Marshall to play out the season.
As for Mick Potter, give him a bit of time with his own coaching staff, his own players and no Benji Marshall and let’s see what he can do. The Tigers are quietly building a pretty handy forward pack for 2014. I like the Austin, Taupau and Paterson signings, and Ava, Sue and BMM have all improved despite the lack of a veteran presence up front. The signings of Richards, Halatau and Lulia are safe rather than spectacular, but they’re all experienced pros and they’re all first graders who can help mentor the young blokes. Put it this way, would you rather have Richards and Halatau or Ayshford and Reddy? I thought so.
Things are bad – embarrassingly bad – but it happens from time to time when you follow the Wests Tigers. If Grant Mayer can safely navigate the board bullshit I firmly believe he will turn this team around. The future looks bright, and there’s no way next year will be anywhere near as bad as 2013, right?!