Wests Tigers players returned to training fit and fresh on Thursday after a good break over the Christmas and New Year period, with new faces joining the extended NRL training squad.
New signing Tukimihia Simpkins — who stands at 192cm and weighs 105kg — was easy to spot as the 19-year-old settled in to his new colours for the first time, having made the trip down from North Queensland earlier this week.
The highly-rated young forward is seen as a rising prospect in rugby league having transitioning from rugby union and has spent the last 12 months in the Cowboys system, but is yet to taste any NRL action in his career so far.
Simpkins was joined by fellow new recruit James Roberts, with "Jimmy the Jet" also commencing full-time training under a familiar coach in Michael Maguire.
Maguire, who re-signed with Wests Tigers just before the Christmas break until the end of the 2023 season, coached Roberts in 2012 at the South Sydney Rabbitohs where the talented flyer first began his NRL career.
Originally due to begin pre-season training in January, experienced forward James Tamou actually commenced his time at Wests Tigers several weeks early — giving him some extra time with the squad before the official start of the 2021 campaign.
Simpkins, Roberts and Tamou aren't the only new arrivals to the club this year, with representative forward Joe Ofahengaue a high-profile arrival in December while Paul Momirovski also returned from his loan deal with the Melbourne Storm.
Stefano Utoikamanu is another name for Wests Tigers fans to get excited about, with the powerful prop settling in to his new colours well after signing from Parramatta.
Stefano Utoikamanu settling in to new colours
With 27 players currently signed to the club's NRL 30-man squad, Wests Tigers Members and fans will no doubt have their eyes peeled for further additions to the squad in the future as the side ramps up its preparations for 2021.
With no NRL Nines campaign to kick off the season, the first competitive action for the team will come on Saturday, 20th February when Wests Tigers face the Sydney Roosters in a scrimmage at Kirkham Oval before taking on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a trial match on Sunday, 28th February at Leichhardt Oval.
Wests Tigers will then open their 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership season on Sunday, 14th March when they travel to the nation's capital to face the Canberra Raiders.
Match: Raiders v Wests Tigers
Round 1 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
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