Wests Tigers have confirmed that eight players will depart the club at the end of the 2020 season.
Benji Marshall, Chris Lawrence, Dylan Smith, Elijah Taylor, Harry Grant, Matt Eisenhuth, Robert Jennings and Oliver Clark were all recognised at the club’s final home game on Saturday and will be officially farewelled at the club’s end-of-season Kelly-Barnes Award later this week.
Wests Tigers also paid tribute to the contributions of Ben Matulino (2018-19), Corey Thompson (2018-20) and Chris McQueen (2018-20), who either retired or departed the club during the 2020 campaign.
Wests Tigers would like to thank all players for their service and commitment to the club and wish them well in their future endeavours.
WESTS TIGERS DEPARTING PLAYERS
Benji Marshall (2003-13, 18-20) — Wests Tigers Player #70
Marshall made his first-grade debut for the club in 2003 and would play an integral role in the club’s maiden Premiership victory in 2005. He would go on to play over 200 games for Wests Tigers before departing for Super Rugby in 2013 — returning at the start of the 2018 season via stints with the Dragons and Broncos. An inaugural Life Member of Wests Tigers, Marshall departs the club as its highest points scorer (1187 points), equal top-try scorer (84 tries) and second most-capped player of all time (257 games).
Chris Lawrence (2006-20) — Wests Tigers Player #104
Lawrence became the youngest player to feature for Wests Tigers when he debuted at just 17 years of age against the Brisbane Broncos in 2006. A local junior of the club, Lawrence would quickly cement himself as a focal point in the side and soon attracted representative honours — playing six Tests for the Kangaroos. Overcoming numerous injuries throughout his career, Lawrence departs as a Life Member of Wests Tigers and one of just three players to feature in over 250 games, while also equalling Marshall as the equal top try-scorer (84 tries).
Dylan Smith (2018-20)
Smith joined Wests Tigers as part of its Development squad in 2018 and transitioned into the full-time squad throughout his time with the club. An Australian Schoolboy, Smith featured prominently for the club’s Jersey Flegg and Canterbury Cup squads in 2018 and 2019 and played in the sole reserve-grade fixture this year before the season was cancelled.
Elijah Taylor (2016-20) — Wests Tigers Player #196
A New Zealand international earlier in his career, Taylor joined Wests Tigers midway through the 2016 season and soon established himself as a key part of the side. An impressive 2017 campaign would see the versatile forward named the club’s Player of the Year while also earning back his place in the Kiwis squad as part of the 2017 World Cup. Having captained the club on numerous occasions throughout his five seasons, Taylor departs with eight tries from his 80 appearances for Wests Tigers.
Harry Grant (2020) — Wests Tigers Player #231
Grant joined Wests Tigers on a unique arrangement from the Melbourne Storm in 2020 — on-loan as part of a swap deal involving Paul Momirovski. Arriving with just two previous first-grade games to his name, Grant played a total of 15 games for the club throughout the year and earned plenty of plaudits along the way with eight try involvements and several Man of the Match performances.
Matthew Eisenhuth (2017-20) — Wests Tigers Player #205
A standout in the club’s then Intrust Super Premiership squad, Eisenhuth earned promotion to the NRL squad in 2017 and made his first-grade debut midway through the year — going on to play 11 matches in total. He would be one of just three players to play every game for the club the following season, and his consistency saw him quickly surpass 50 NRL games. Eisenhuth will finish his time at the club with 70 games played across his four seasons in the NRL squad.
Oliver Clark (2019-20) — Wests Tigers Player #224
Clark made his NRL debut for the club early in the 2019 season and went on to play a total of nine games in his rookie season at an impressive win-rate of 67%. The young prop would play a further seven games for the club during the 2020 season.
Robert Jennings (2019-20) — Wests Tigers Player #221
A Tongan international, Jennings joined Wests Tigers ahead of the 2019 season and went on to score six tries in 18 games for the club that year — bringing up his 50th NRL game in the process following earlier stints at the Panthers and Rabbitohs. Jennings featured in a further five games for Wests Tigers during 2020 — scoring two tries — to add to his strong strike rate of 33 tries scored in 62 total appearances.