Joining Wests Tigers at the start of the 2016 pre-season, Josh Aloiai was still suffering from a hip injury and hadn’t come close to playing a single NRL game.

By the end of the year, however, the gentle giant had set a Wests Tigers record never before achieved — becoming the first player to play every game in his rookie season.

Starting off the interchange bench early in the season, the Junior Kiwis forward quickly grew into the role of an NRL forward — locking down a starting spot on the right edge in Round 11 that he would hold through to the Club’s final game of the regular season.

Incredibly, the 20-year-old was one of just two Wests Tigers player to feature in every game in 2016, alongside Ava Seumanufagai, who also played in the Auckland Nines.

Scoring two tries and setting up another, Aloiai was an easy selection as the Club’s 2016 NRL Rookie of the Year and will head into 2017 with a terrific platform to build on.

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2016 Year in Numbers

Games

Tries

Metres

Linebreaks

Tackles

Tackle Breaks

24

2

1550m

2

426

16




Top Try — Round 20 vs. St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Much of the credit for Aloiai’s maiden NRL try will go to Mitchell Moses, but there was no taking away the special moment for the rookie when he put the game to bed with a try against the Dragons in Round 20. Pushing up in support of Moses as he took on the line, Aloiai collected the offload to crash over — much to his teammates’ delight. The 73 minutes he played that day were also the most he played in a single game in 2016.

 

Best Game — Round 21 vs. Parramatta Eels

Statistically, his performance the week earlier against the Dragons ranks ahead of his effort against the Parramatta Eels in Round 21, but in terms of impact, this game stands clear. Determined to prove a point against his old Club, Aloiai set up the first try with a lovely late offload to Moses (who put David Nofoaluma over in the corner) before backing that up 15 minutes later with a bullocking run breaking open the Eels’ defence on halfway — drawing the fullback to send James Tedesco over under the posts). Wests Tigers would go on to win the game 23-8 with Aloiai chalking up 86m from 11 runs.



 

Magic Moment — Round 26 vs. Canberra Raiders

Far from the ideal result for Aloiai and Wests Tigers, but looking back, Round 26 will be a magic moment given it confirmed the achievement of becoming the first Wests Tigers player to play every game in his rookie season. Only Roosters fullback Latrell Mitchell joined Aloiai as rookies to make their debut in 2016 and play every game in the year.

 

Milestones and Achievements

NRL Debut — Round 1 vs. New Zealand Warriors

Wests Tigers NRL Rookie of the Year

First Wests Tigers Rookie to play every game