At the age of just 19, Tuki Simpkins gave us all a glimpse of the potential he possesses during his five games in the top grade.
Having made his NRL debut in Round 18 against Brisbane, Simpkins played all of his games off the interchange bench, and although he played limited minutes, the opportunity at the top level will be beneficial to him moving forward.
Simpkins was called up to Michael Maguire’s NRL team after excelling for Western Suburbs Magpies in the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.
Across 13 games in reserve grade, the hulking forward averaged 112 running metres a game and made 384 tackles (avg. 29.5) with an efficiency of 95.8 percent.
As well as running hard and being a wall in defence, Simpkins possesses a deadly offload — utilising it on 22 occasions and creating attacking raids along the way.
He may have only had a short stint at the top level this season, but Simpkins has the potential to have a long and bright career in the NRL.
Tuki Simpkins hopeful for more wins after a suceessful debut in Brisbane
Appearances — 5
Tries — 0
Total running metres — 215 (avg. 43)
Offloads — 9
Tackles made — 91
Tackle efficiency — 91%
NRL Fantasy points — 109 (avg. 21.8)
WHAT WAS SAID
When I heard my name called out, I was shocked and was like ‘was that my name?’ Zac Cini grabbed me and started shaking me — all the boys were going crazy and I loved it.Tuki Simpkins on being named to make NRL debut
I’ve actually enjoyed coaching young Tuki. He’s very hungry to learn and work at his game and he’s been performing really well for us at reserve grade.Michael Maguire ahead of Simpkin's debut
Game time may have been limited in his debut season, but Simpkins had an evening to be proud of when Wests Tigers faced Manly in Round 19.
Coming off the bench, the youngster ran for 78 metres (37 post contact) from 10 carries, recorded three offloads and made 21 tackles (1 missed).
You can never have too many shoes, right Tuki?
With a handful of games under his belt, Simpkins will be better for the run when he returns for Wests Tigers next season.
A strong pre-season — starting in November — could see him gain a position in the top 17 in 2022, but he’ll be in a battle with a number of rising forwards at the club.
Although Simpkins is eager to be in the NRL team every week, at the age of just 19, there’s no rush to push his progression. He has a bright footy career ahead of him!