2023 NRL Season Preview
24 Feb 2023

2023 Wests Tigers NRL Season Preview

What a terrible year for the Tigers last season. At some points in the season, the team looked like a literal train wreck. The Tigers were handed the wooden spoon in 2022, and they finished with two wins less than the next worst team. They were also the only team to crack the -300 mark in points differential, with -327.

Recruitment Report

The Tigers have made some big plays during the recruitment period, and they have picked up some major players that could really help turn their results around. Most importantly, they have picked up Apisai Koroisau and Charlie Staines from the Panthers, while also stealing Isaiah Papali'I away from the Eels.

In terms of the players who have left the club; Luke Garner and Tyrone Peachey have moved to the Panthers, Kelma Tuilagi has gone to the Sea Eagles and Jackson Hastings will start 2023 with the Knights. As well as this, James Tamou has moved back to the Cowboys, where he spent eight seasons from 2009 to 2016.

Ins: Apisai Koroisau, Isaiah Papali'i, Triston Reilly, Charlie Staines, David Klemmer, John Bateman, Will Smith and Brandon Wakeham

Outs: Luke Garner, Kelma Tuilagi, Zane Musgrove, Jock Madden, James Tamou, Oliver Gildart, Jacob Liddle, Tyrone Peachey and Jackson Hastings

Key Player: Adam Doueihi

Sadly, very little to enthuse about. But Adam Doueihi came back well from his second knee reconstruction mid-season in 2022 and was the biggest danger in attack. If he can remain healthy in 2023, he will be the key that holds the Tigers together. Honourable mention has to go to Joe Ofahengaue. Ofahengaue toiled hard and won the club’s player of the year award.

Rising Star: Tommy Talau

Tommy Talau missed all of last season with a knee injury but in the trials, looked a real handful in the centres. Expect plenty of tries from him this campaign. Back in 2021, he played 22 games for the Tigers and the centre scored 11 tries. If he is fit and healthy, he can definitely replicate those numbers from a couple of seasons ago and help the Tigers off the bottom of the ladder.

5 Key Matches To Watch

Match 1: Round 4, vs Storm, at AMMI Park (Fri, Mar 24, 6pm)

Match 2: Round 9, vs Panthers, at Carrington Park (Sat, Apr 29, 7:35pm)

Match 3: Round 19, vs Sharks, at CommBank Stadium (Thu, Jul 6, 7:50pm)

Match 4: Round 20, vs Roosters, at Allianz Stadium (Sat, Aug 26, 5:30pm)

Match 5: Round 22, vs Rabbitohs, at Scully Park (Fri, Jul 28, 6pm)

2023 NRL Season Expectations

A finals spot may be just beyond the Tigers this season, but they won’t finish last again - and could challenge for eighth place given an injury-free run. After a few horrid seasons, things are looking up for the Tigers, and their recruitment was very positive this off-season. Only time will tell how things will gel with all the new players, including new captain, Api Koroisau.