Concord – Michmutters

Wests Tigers center of excellence, Benji Marshall error, Dragons, premiership, photo

The usual suspects at the Wests Tigers have been busily launching a ticker-tape parade about the club’s new much-vaunted $78 million Center of Excellence in Concord.

Parading around like they’ve won the grand finale – can someone please tell them the Wests Tigers are in 16th position on the NRL ladder and now firm favorites to collect the club’s first-ever wooden spoon.

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There’s also been an early loose carry in the new digs hailed as the best rugby league training facility in the world with the organization dropping the ball when it comes to club legend and premiership-winner Benji Marshall’s playing career.

In a spiel about Marshall’s playing feats at the Wests Tigers, the club has somehow managed to stuff up who he won a premiership with.

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For the record, the incoming Wests Tigers head coach in 2025 won a premiership with the Wests Tigers in 2005.

The flick pass to Pat Richards, anyone? It was also the club’s one and only premiership.

Instead, in the initial fit out of the new Center of Excellence – the Wests Tigers Marshall bio states he won a premiership with the Dragons.

Whoops. Benji Marshall did not win a premiership with the Dragons. Photo: NRL Roast TwitterSource: Twitter


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confused? Don’t worry, so were we.

The Wests Tigers have since confirmed the error and are in the process of getting it fixed.

Like Jack Gibson always said, winning starts Monday and winning starts in the front office.

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Anyway, they’ve also got a barber shop at the new Center of Excellence so at the very least the Tigers playing squad can sport fresh fades and the organization staff will look sharp.

In all seriousness the Center of Excellence is a great result for the club as a training facility and will no doubt help them on the training and recruitment front.

And once they fix up the Marshall faux pas then hopefully the only way is up.

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John Bateman to Wests Tigers, Wigan, Canberra Raiders, Super League, Jimmy Brings, James Hooper

The Wests Tigers have made an inquiry with Wigan about the prospect of bringing 2019 Dally M Backrower of the Year John Bateman back to the NRL in 2023.

In a move unrelated to Isaiah Papali’i having second thoughts about switching from Parramatta to Concord next year, Tigers director of football Tim Sheens has confirmed the club has made the approach.

The catch is going to be Bateman is under contract with Wigan until at least the end of 2024 and for now the Warriors have blocked the Tigers move.

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Bateman was one of the standout backrowers in the NRL the year the Canberra Raiders made the grand finale in 2019 before his tenure in the national capital sourced over a contract stalemate with the Green Machine.

Bateman then returned home to the UK at the end of the 2020 NRL season after inking a four-year deal with Wigan through until the end of 2024.

The Raiders were forced to pay a $250,000 transfer fee to Bradford to bring Bateman to the NRL the first time around but the one bonus with transfer fees to English clubs is they aren’t included in the NRL clubs salary cap.


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The Tigers have made a play for former Raiders star John Bateman.Source: Getty Images

The Bateman approach is creative thinking from Sheens trying to look outside the square and devise recruitment ploys aimed at overhauling the Wests Tigers roster.

The Tigers have made some recruitment moves this week by re-signing Brent Naden, Asu Kepoa and Starford To’a but the real recruitment space where they need to get busy is the re-signing of Adam Doueihi.

Doueihi is easily the Tigers best player, a local junior and the type of leader the Wests Tigers need to build the club around.

With Sheens and Benji Marshall now having control of the steering wheel at least it won’t be left to dithering management types to make another misguided mistake.

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‘He gets angry at some weird things’ | 01:13

The issue with Doueihi is he’s going to be a free agent as of November 1 and you can guarantee rival clubs are going to be getting the queue to try and convince the five-eighth to switch allegiances.

The Tigers need to sharpen their pencil and try and get a long-term deal done now prior to the stronger clubs being able to table a deal.

The Melbourne Storm have already had one crack at getting Doueihi on loan for the remainder of this year and with uncertainty surrounding the future of Cameron Munster the Tigers five-eighth would make an ideal replacement.