West Tigers made a tough decision about a coach change earlier this month – now they face another huge decision.
skipper James Tamouwho turns 34 later this year wants to continue playing at the club in 2023 and officials will have to decide whether to give him another deal or let him go.
Tamou is one of five captains appointed by the sacked coach Michael Maguire at the start of the season, but he is the public face of the playing group.
He is hugely popular with the team, especially the young Islander players, and is a great role model and it will all play a part in the Tigers’ decision.
But Tamou has spent 14 years plodding hard in the front row under his hood – and that has taken a toll on his body.
His best football is behind the former Test and NSW origin prop and the Tigers have to make the hard decision whether they are better off with a younger player or stick with the experienced hardman.
This week the club gave underperforming utility Tyrone Peachey – who only joined the club this year – permission to test the market.
Panthers love me
The panthers don’t have many players on their 2023 shopping list – but Roosters prop Terrell May is one.
The brother of Penrith aviator Taylan and former Panther Tyrone, the 23-year-old is a Panthers junior who made his NRL debut earlier this season – ironically against Penrith.
The Roosters are keen to keep the promising midfielder and the two clubs are currently vying for his services.
With the Roosters having lost quite a few big names in recent seasons, his way to the top may be easier there.
But the temptation to return home – and play with his little brother – will also be a major factor in his decision.
Greek international finds new club
The Sharks may have a handy player for the run-up to the final in talented utility player Billy Magoulias.
The 25-year-old only signed with Warrington Wolves last November, but a nagging ankle injury and his wife becoming pregnant caused him to request his release.
Warrington granted his wish and the Greek international, who has played a handful of games for the top division Sharks, played for Cronulla feeder team Newtown last weekend.
Fit and fiery, Magoulias is a handy footballer and could even hit a high score during the Origin period.
Why Queensland couldn’t gamble on Cotter
This is a story I was sworn to secrecy about Cowboys coach Todd Payten†
But since 17 years have now passed, I’m going to tell it all – because it’s relevant this week.
Just days before the 2005 Grand Final for West Tigers — ironically against the Cowboys — Payten tore his hamstring in training.
Then Tigers coach Tim Sheens kept it a closely guarded secret — told me what happened but forbade me to write it — and decided to bet on Payten.
The move worked out a treat – Payten kept the game going and scored the famous last try that sealed the Tigers’ one and only premiership.
So Payten knows how to prop his tree young this week Reuben Cotter feels after a hamstring tear in the warm-up against Manly last Friday night cost him his place in the Queensland Origin team.
Why was one able to play 17 years ago and the other not now, with more time to recover and when sports science has improved significantly?
Payten was a talented, but not quiet, so quick prop who relied on ball dexterity and trickery to get him through games.
But Cotter is like a tornado and does everything at 100 km/h.
The Maroons’ camp knew he couldn’t ‘nurse’ the hamstring and if he played his fast natural game there would have been a real danger of him blowing the hamstring – and it was a gamble they couldn’t afford to take .
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