The second half against the Broncos was the best performance from the Wests Tigers in 2021.
After a lethargic effort in the first half, the side came roaring back to life in the second half, scoring no fewer than 32 points to win 42-24.
The player who made the most difference for them in that period was James Tamou, pictured at right.
It was indeed his personal best effort since joining the club during the off-season.
Tamou’s first half effort was typical – nothing to write home about.
But once he was injected into the game, Tamou played out of his skin, tackling like a machine and taking hit ups like they were going out of style.
Fans who noticed the sudden change must have been wondering if the coach had a little word in his ear about his future in the club.
Unfortunately, nobody in the media thought to ask Michael Maguire about it, so it went unreported, if not completely ignored.
But from our little vantage point here in Campbelltown, the other home of the Wests Tigers, Tamou’s performance is key to the team’s finals hopes.
There’s no doubt he’s a quality front rower – one of the best in the game at his very best.
But he’s has shown very little of that class, until Sunday afternoon’s second half – and what a difference it made.
It lifted all the other forwards, who combined to set the platform for Brooks, Doueihi and Daine Laurie to tear the Broncos apart.
Here’s a bold declaration: if James Tamou plays like that in all of the remaining rounds Wests Tigers will be playing finals footy for the first time in 10 years.
The side will definitely need him to lead from the front this Saturday when they take on Manly at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
The Sea Eagles are expecting to have all their big guns back on deck for this one, including the player of the year so far, Tommy Trbojevic, so it’s not going to be an easy task to collect another two premiership points.
Maguire has named an unchanged team for the round 19 match, including the two impressive debutants from the Broncos match, Junior Pauga and Tuki Simpkins.
After becoming the club’s all-time leading try-scorer last Sunday, David Nofoaluma is now set to become the 10th most capped player in Wests Tigers history, passing life member and premiership winner Bryce Gibbs (156 games).
“Nofa’’ can certainly hold his head high, despite a little stumble on social media recently.
He has been the heart and soul of the team in the past few years and should have been given an opportunity to captain the side.
Either way, his status as a club legend is assured, although the fans would love to see him continue to score those spectacular tries for a long time.
WESTS TIGERS V MANLY – SATURDAY 5.35PM
1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Junior Pauga
4. Tommy Talau
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. Stefano Utoikamanu
9. Jacob Liddle
10. James Tamou (captain)
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Thomas Mikaele
14. Joe Ofahengaue
15. Alex Twal
16. Tuki Simpkins
17. Moses Mbye
18. Michael Chee Kam
19. Jake Simpkin
20. Alex Seyfarth
21. Shawn Blore