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New season up and running

Wests Tigers’ 2023 pre-season has officially begun at the club’s new Centre of Excellence, with players clocking on for pre-Christmas block of training.

The full squad won’t gather until the new year with a handful of players away on World Cup duty, including Adam Doueihi (Lebanon), Rua Ngatikaura (Cook Islands), and key signings Isaiah Papali’i (New Zealand) and Api Koroisau (Fiji).

Adam Doueihi after player of the match performance for Lebanon
Adam Doueihi after player of the match performance for Lebanon

A few others will be given a later start date, including recent recruit Charlie Staines who, like Papali’i and Koroisau, played in this year’s NRL Grand Final.

Api Koroisau in fine form for Fiji
Api Koroisau in fine form for Fiji

The 2023 squad is among the youngest in the club’s 24-year history, with eight players in the top-30 having played no more than 10 NRL games, and five yet to get a taste of first grade football.

Brandon Tumeth in action for NSW Origin U/19's this year
Brandon Tumeth in action for NSW Origin U/19's this year

Stepping up from development contracts last season and yet to play NRL are Brandon Tumeth (Concord Burwood Wolves), Apisalome Saukuru (Hurstville United), and Sione Fainu (former NSW U/18’s prop). 2022 Rookie of the Year, Fonua Pole is also elevated to the top-30 after being on a development contract last season.

2022 Rookie of the Year Fonua Pole
2022 Rookie of the Year Fonua Pole

The other two players in the top-30 who are yet to play first grade are hooker, Ngatikaura and outside back, Triston Reilly.

Reilly joined the club mid-season this year from the NSW Waratahs, and played nine games for the Magpies in the NSW Cup. Ngatikaura signed a two-year deal to join the senior squad in April, before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in May.

Ngatikaura playing NSW Cup against the Dragons in May this year
Ngatikaura playing NSW Cup against the Dragons in May this year

There are a couple of other young players in the squad itching to make a return from injury, who could add significant punch to the side. Shawn Blore and Tommy Talau both missed the entire 2022 season through injury but have recently signed one-year contract extensions.

Campbelltown junior Justin Matamua, who made his NRL debut last season, is one four players to be handed development contracts in 2023.

Matamua on debut against the Eels at Leichhardt Oval in Round 17 this year
Matamua on debut against the Eels at Leichhardt Oval in Round 17 this year

The club’s other three development players include Kitione Kautoga, who also made his NRL debut last season, former Manly junior representative captain Josh Feledy, and former Junior Kiwi, Christian Ma’anaima.

Pre-season training will also involve several ‘train and trial’ players, some of whom are on short term deals, and others, including Will Smith, are locked in for the season.

Indigenous All Star, Will Smith
Indigenous All Star, Will Smith

Others on full time training contracts include Wests Magpies Harold Matthews premiership-winning players, Jordan Miller and Tallyn Da Silva.

Much has changed with the playing roster leading into the new season, and so too the coaching and performance staff. 

Four-time premiership winning coach Tim Sheens returns as head coach and will be assisted by fellow Wests Tigers Life Members, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah, as well as former Canberra player and coach, David Furner.

Wayne Lambkin is also part of the senior coaching team. He'll continue to coach our NSW Cup side, and also take on a new role as ‘transitions coach’, helping younger players make the step up to full time training.

Former club physio Peter Moussa is also back on deck as head of high performance and is joined by a new-look team of rehab and sports science staff.

Top 30 Squad for 2023

PLAYER  CONTRACT                               
Shawn Blore 2023  2024  
Luke Brooks  2023     
Adam Doueihi 2023     
Sione Fainu 2023    
Jackson Hastings  2023     
Asu Kepaoa 2023 2024  
Apisai Koroisau 2023 2024  2025
Daine Laurie  2023     
Ken Maumalo 2023    
Brent Naden  2023 2024 2025
Rua Ngatikaura 2023 2024  
David Nofoaluma 2023 2024 2025
Joe Ofahengaue  2023  2024 2025
Isaiah Papali'i 2023 2024 2025
Fonua Pole  2023 2024  
Triston Reilly 2023 2024  
Apisalome Saukuru 2023    
Alex Seyfarth  2023    
Jake Simpkin  2023 2024  
Tuki Simpkins  2023    
Charlie Staines  2023    
Tommy Talau 2023    
Starford To'a 2023 2024  
Brandon Tumeth  2023 2024  
Junior Tupou 2023 2024  
Alex Twal 2023 2024  
Stefano Utoikamanu 2023 2024 2025

2023 Development Players 

Josh Feledy, Kitione Kautoga, Christian Ma'anaima and Justin Matamua

Train & Trial (full season)

Jahream Bula, Zane Camroux, Tallyn Da Silva, Kit Laulili'i, Brandon Mansfield, Jordan Miller, Trey Peni, Tony Sukkar and Will Smith

Train & Trial (pre-season)

Jordan Hill, Kade Hill, Ben Houston, Atiasi James, Luke Knight, Livai Saukuru, Keenan Tempest and Bruce Ward

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Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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