Wests Tigers players Alex Twal, Moses Suli, Jacob Liddle and Bayley Sironen have all been named by New South Wales Coach Brad Fittler as part of the 2018 Emerging Blues squad.
The squad, comprised of 38 players from 13 NRL clubs potentially destined for higher honours and State of Origin representation, will assemble at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, 13 January for a session with NSW True Blue Origin legends ahead of the 2018 season.
Blues legends Andrew Johns, Craig Fitzgibbon, Matt King, Mark O’Meley and Anthony Minichiello will join Fittler and Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues Assistant Coach Danny Buderus at the camp in specialist positional coaching roles. In addition to undertaking skills work, the Emerging Blues will also attend presentations preparing the young stars for league’s toughest arena.
Originally signed to the Club from the start of the 2018 season, Alex Twal joined Wests Tigers on a mid-season transfer from the Parramatta Eels until the end of the 2020 season — adding increased depth and starch to Wests Tigers forward pack. One of the most promising young forwards in the competition, Twal's powerful physique saw the forward average 100 metres and 28 tackles per game in his rookie season — leaving many fans excited about the future ahead for the Parramatta City Titans junior.
Twal made his first-grade debut for Wests Tigers in Round 17 win over the Newcastle Knights — just one day before his 21st birthday — and went on to feature in every game after that. He also made his international debut for Lebanon at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, starring for the Cedars to average more successful tackles per game than any other player in the competition.
After playing just one game in 2016 due to salary cap constraints, Jacob Liddle enjoyed a breakout rookie year that saw him feature in 13 games for the Club, before a shoulder injury sustained against Manly in Round 19 prematurely ended his season. Combining with Matt McIlwrick at hooker, Liddle's great speed and vision combined with his footballing brain proved to be a huge asset for Wests Tigers in the middle of the field, with the Wyong Roos junior contributing three tries and four linebreaks throughout the year.
His growth was noticed by Head Coach Ivan Cleary and the coaching staff, with Liddle named Wests Tigers Rookie of the Year for 2017, while also re-signing until the end of 2019.
Despite only being 18 years old at the time, Moses Suli made his first-grade debut in Round 1 of the 2017 season — going on to play 16 games for the Club and scoring two tries. A junior representative star, the highly-rated winger or centre also made his international debut for Tonga in May, and looks destined for another superb year in 2018 with increased competition for spots in the backline at Wests Tigers.
The younger son of Blues legend Paul Sironen, Bayley Sironen made his first-grade debut in the penultimate game of 2017 against the Cowboys — featuring again the following week as Wests Tigers defeated the Warriors. Sironen re-signed with the club for the following year as part of the Intrust Super Premiership squad and will no doubt look to build on a pleasing 2017 season in the year ahead.
Wests Tigers would like to congratulate all four players on their selection in the squad!
2018 EMERGING BLUES SQUAD (in club order)
Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
Tevita Pengai Jr. (Brisbane Broncos)
Michael Lichaa (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders)
Jayden Brailey (Cronulla Sharks)
Kyle Flanagan (Cronulla Sharks)
Jessie Ramien (Cronulla Sharks)
Lachlan Croker (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Jack Gosiewski (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Brian Kelly (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Luke Metcalf (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Curtis Scott (Melbourne Storm)
Brock Lamb (Newcastle Knights)
Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)
Connor Watson (Newcastle Knights)
Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
Dylan Edwards (Penrith Panthers)
Moses Leota (Penrith Panthers)
Bevan French (Parramatta Eels)
Tepai Moeroa (Parramatta Eels)
Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels)
Kyle Schneider (Parramatta Eels)
Jake Hazard (Sydney Roosters)
Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters)
Angus Crichton (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Tyrell Fuimaono (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Campbell Graham (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Matt Dufty (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Jai Field (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Zac Lomax (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Reece Robson (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Hame Sele (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Jacob Liddle (Wests Tigers)
Bayley Sironen (Wests Tigers)
Moses Suli (Wests Tigers)
Alex Twal (Wests Tigers)