Wests Tigers are at the bottom on the NRL ladder, but worry not, supporters. It is the Telstra 2020 NRL Premiership ladder and Wests are at the bottom because the ladder is arranged alphabetically before the start of the season.
That would explain Brisbane Broncos being on top and Sydney 15th.
Most are well aware that the Roosters secured the 2019 NRL premiership, so our focus shifts to Wests.
They finished ninth in 2019 and were it not for a drawn match between eighth placed Brisbane and New Zealand Warriors; Wests would have played finals footy on the strength of points differential.
Such speculation is just that, but with the Tigers’ goal of playing finals in 2020, they have added Joey Leilua from Canberra on a three-year deal.
Leilua is, at the age of 28, an experienced player who will play wide for the Tigers and give them some additional strike power. Leilua made 89 tries over 204 NRL games, beginning in 2010 with Sydney Roosters, moving to Newcastle for 54 games, and then Canberra from 2015.
Who knows? Perhaps 2020 is the year the Sydney native can break an odd duck that finds all his points coming from tries.
“As a club, we’re delighted to have secured a talented player such as Joseph,” said Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe in remarks appearing on the official NRL website.
Wests are also hoping to get Adam Doueihi from the Bunnies, but that deal is still in the negotiation stages. The primary sticking point is that Wests would like to secure a multi-year deal with Doueihi, but they would like Souths to contribute more to Doueihi’s 2020 salary.
Wests are still dealing with the fallout from a salary cap breach that came about as the result of some ‘creative’ accounting from 2016 over the club’s job offer to Robbie Farah after Farah retired.
The Tigers commence the Telstra 2020 NRL Premiership competition with Saint George Dragons at WIN Stadium, with early markets quoting Wests as 2.5-point underdogs, despite St. George’s 15th place finish last season, while in the NRL 2020 Premiership markets, both teams are ranked near the bottom, with identical quotes of $26.