The highly anticipated finals are just around the corner but first I will look at the Wests Tigers, who are in full struggle mode.
The Tigers have not finished their season with a win that would have given them some momentum going into 2022, which is what the Tales from Tiger Town producers would have wanted. Instead, they had a catastrophic 38-point loss at the hands of the last placed Canterbury Bulldogs.
Madge’s men headed into this match-up knowing that no matter the outcome, they would not take part in the finals for the tenth year in a row. Wests still had a lot to play for, however, as a win would’ve been a great way to give them something positive heading into 2022. This is not how things panned out.
They will finish 13th on the ladder, one place further down than my prediction at the start of the season. I thought they would do bad enough by finishing 12th but instead they done one worse.
Things were not going their way from the very start of the match as Nick Meaney scored in the tenth minute before Jake Averillo crossed the line three minutes later. The Dogs were up by 16 points to 0 at halftime and you could just imagine their opposition’s locker room as we have seen Madge’s emotions before when his side have played terribly, but I can’t remember when they were playing this poorly.
If you know Michael Maguire, then you would know whatever side he is coaching never gives up and fights until the end. Apologies, Tigers fans, but your side in the second half looked like a bunch of under-8s only beginning to understand the tactics of footy.
Full credit to the Bulldogs, who played outstandingly well and it was probably their best full 80 minutes in the last two or three years. Wests’ play, on the other hand, was just completely sloppy, and their ball movement was all over the shop. Sunday’s performance at Redcliffe was a representation of pretty much all of their season.
The question remains: should Madge be sacked this off-season? My answer is no. Madge is one of the best coaches in the league and these below average performances like Sunday’s should be 100 per cent blamed on the players.
The orange and black army have proved what they are capable of and that they can play like a finals team in patches but a lot of the time we just don’t see enough effort and leadership out of anybody in the side.
Luke Brooks is supposed to be the great strong leading halfback, but right now he hasn’t even sorted his plan of attack out. Wests can’t really say that they’ve got a strong team ready for next season as their only noticeable signing is Jackson Hastings.
They seem like they’re at a dead end with nowhere to go now. Two signings that could work out for the group are either Ash Taylor or Sam Williams, who are both off-contract at the end of the season, although you can argue either of these halves won’t bring much more to the club than Brooks.
Overall, this was an atrocious year for the Wests Tigers and unless they fix up their attitude or start to gain some player leadership in the club, they don’t look like improving much in 2022.