Michael Maguire hasn’t wasted time shaking things up at the Wests Tigers, appointing fullback Moses Mbye as captain for 2019.
Mbye, who was unveiled as the club captain at the club’s season launch on Friday morning, will be the face of change at a team he only joined midway through last year.
Former coach Ivan Cleary appointed five captains to share the role last year – Chris Lawrence, Benji Marshall, Russell Packer, Elijah Taylor and Josh Reynolds – however Maguire has opted to go in a different direction altogether leading into his first season at the helm.
Mbye has played 103 NRL games since his Telstra Premiership debut for Canterbury in 2014, but has only worn the Tigers jersey on nine occasions since making the highly publicised switch from the Bulldogs before last year’s June 30 deadline.
While Mbye was convinced to join the club by Cleary, he hasn’t lost faith in the direction the Wests Tigers are heading under the tutelage of Maguire.
"I did join the club to play under Ivan but for some reason once all the reports came out I became quite resilient to the fact he was going to leave," Mbye told NRL.com.
"I just assumed he was going to leave because normally in this game where there is smoke there is fire and history tells us that’s the truth. He got an opportunity to go complete his dream and coach his son on a long term deal in a place where he lives. He believes he has a roster out there to win a premiership and good on him.
"At the end of the day we ended up with a good quality coach and the club is on the rise. We’re heading in the right direction. I’ve never seen so many people on the field and training this hard. There’s a really good vibe here.
"The thing with Madge is that he knows what works. He’s been there and he’s done it. He’s got results. He’s won two premierships across two organisations across two countries. Once you’ve done that you know what your blueprint is. He’s come here to push his blueprint. And everyone here has bought into it.”
He described the captaincy appointment as "one of the proudest moments of my career".
“Growing up, it was a dream of mine to play one game in the NRL, so I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the career I have so far," he said.
"I feel privileged to captain a club with history as rich as Wests Tigers, and to be recognised in this way by my teammates and coaches is truly humbling.
"The history of this club means so much to me when I think about players like Wayne Pearce, Tommy Raudonikis and Benji Marshall and all that have had success here. Knowing this makes putting on the Wests Tigers jersey mean more to me than just playing a game, and I know this group is focused on adding another successful chapter to the history of the club."
Since breaking into NRL ranks, Mbye - who tore his PCL at training last week but is expected to be right for the trials - has played in several positions.
He’s previously admitted he didn’t know where he belonged on the field, but has finally found comfort in the No.1 jersey.
"To be honest I feel like it’s all I know now," Mbye said.
"Last year I was still trying to figure things out but now it feels like the norm for me. I’m a fullback and I honestly believe that now. Last year was a good year for me on the field. I played my most consistent footy in the NRL which was big for me.
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"It’s taken me five or six years to work out where I should play. When I came to Sydney I was playing hooker. I’ve been in the halves, I’ve played centres and even spent a game on the wing.
"I’ve ended up at fullback and I think it’s allowed me to focus on my strengths which is my running game.”
The Noosa Pirates junior will be supported by Marshall, Robbie Farah, Lawrence, Packer, Luke Brooks and Taylor as part of the club’s leadership group.
"On behalf of everyone at Wests Tigers, I would like to congratulate Moses on being named captain,” Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire said.
"To captain a club with the shared history of Wests Tigers is a tremendous privilege and we are equally confident and proud to have him lead us in 2019.
"Moses is incredibly well respected by his teammates and carries himself extremely well both on and off the field. He is a great role model for all young players in the game and is more than capable of leading us forward in to an exciting time in Wests Tigers history."