The Wests Tigers had a notable improvement in their performance during the back end of last season, attributed to Benji Marshall‘s influence. Isaiah Papali’i pointed out that the team will gain great opportunity for growth in the 2024 season. The club made an early coaching switch, with Marshall taking over from Tim Sheens, a move that proved influential in their on-field success.
According to Papali’i, the team’s progression was evident particularly during the Dolphins game. This season brought the Tigers with a disappointing consecutive wooden spoons, but performances under Marshall’s guidance offered hope for better days. “We had Benji in the back end of our season and I think that’s where we were our most consistent,” said Papali’i in an NRL.com report.
Papali’i further attributed their growth to Marshall’s game plan expertise. The 25-year-old Kiwi suggested Marshall’s leadership brought about better consistency and the team “felt like you are in the game a bit more.”
Papali’i admitted that 2023 was a tough season due to the external distractions, particularly the speculation around Sheens’ future as head coach. He noted that off-field issues often take a toll on the team’s focus, but looks forward to the upcoming season as a fresh start.
Despite the struggles, 2023 also held positive takeaways for Tigers. Several players were able to showcase promising potential, including Fonua Pole, Junior Tupou, and Jahream Bula, who stood out as a future star of the club. The young team faced challenges but Papali’i believes they learned valuable lessons that will make them better players.
The once-young players are expected to carry the strength and knowledge gained from the tough 2023 season, bringing promise for a more refined team and a greater show of resilience on the field.