The New Year is upon us — bringing with it the optimism and sense of occasion that leads us all feeling bright about the year ahead.
For Wests Tigers fans, the optimism and opportunity is no different with the 2021 season containing the hope and belief of a successful year on and off the field.
With a number of potential personal milestones and records on the way, we take a look at the big numbers to know and watch out for in the year ahead.
10 — Wests Tigers Player Numbers
In 2020, 11 players earned their Wests Tigers Player numbers under Coach Michael Maguire — five of which also saw youngsters make their NRL debuts.
In 2021, the 236-strong list of players to have pulled on the Wests Tigers jersey will no doubt increase as new recruits James Tamou, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts, Tuki Simpkins and Stefano Utoikamanu all compete for spots in the Round 1 side.
Rookies Jake Simpkin, Jock Madden and Zac Cini will have their eyes firmly fixed on an NRL debut — bringing with it their Wests Tigers Player number — while Development players William Kei and Kelma Tuilagi will also be pushing for selection throughout the year.
That's a potential of ten new player numbers to keep an eye out for and, with a handful of spots still to fill in the club's Top 30 squad for 2021, that number could rise even higher as new faces arrive to the club.
5 — First try scored in the NRL
We'll give them some slack here as middle forwards but Alex Twal, Thomas Mikaele, Shawn Blore, Alex Seyfarth and Stefano Utoikamanu will all be gunning for their first four-pointer in the NRL — getting them off the dreaded nudie run!
For Blore, Seyfarth and Utoikamanu, time hasn't exactly been their friend with just a handful of first-grade games between them but both Twal and Mikaele will be hoping that 2021 is their year. Mikaele (41 games) is closing in on 50 games played without a try while Twal (66 games) is even further ahead... making 2021 the perfect year for both big men to end their try-scoring drought!
11 — All-time Wests Tigers top try-scorer
Having watched Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence battle it out for the past few seasons, in-form winger David Nofoaluma will have his sights set on becoming the club's all-time leading try-scorer throughout the 2021 season.
Having crossed the line for 17 tries in 2020, Nofoaluma now sits just 10 tries behind Marshall and Lawrence (84 tries for Wests Tigers) in the record books — a number he could easily reach in the coming year if his good form continues.
All of David Nofoaluma's 2020 tries
Eleven tries in 2021 would take Nofoaluma to 85 tries in Wests Tigers colours, with his next task reaching the 72-man group who have scored 100 career NRL tries.
Joey Leilua (93 games in 218 games) is also closing in on that mark in 2021.
150 — Games played in the NRL
Wests Tigers are in for a number of big player milestones in 2021 and the 150-game crew is on track to add a few more members as a result.
James Roberts (149 games) will reach the mark in the season opener should he be selected to face Canberra while Luke Brooks (148 games) will also get there the following week against the Roosters — making him just the 12th player in Wests Tigers history to have played 150 games for the club.
Nofoaluma (139 games) can become the 13th player assuming he stays healthy and in form while Moses Mbye (135 games) is also scheduled to reach the 150-game milestone at some point throughout the 2021 campaign.
Going one step further, Russell Packer (183 games) is in the hunt for his double century while Michael Chee Kam (85 games), Jacob Liddle (43 games), Thomas Mikaele (41 games), Luke Garner (37 games) and Zane Musgrove (33 games) are all in the mix for their respective milestone games throughout the year.