By Danielle Smith
The Wests Tigers always seem to be in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
A club that did its best to merge two legendary teams together but are constantly reminded that they did it wrong. A club that hasn't performed as well as it would have hoped for over the years, yet anyone would think they are the only club to ever show poor form. A club who over time let players go who went on to become superstars - something many other clubs have done but it doesn't seem as fun to write about.
A club with a coach who is constantly in the firing line. Every week we hear that Michael Maguire should be sacked immediately because of atrocious results, while every other current coach is obviously perfect.
We get it, OK? The Wests Tigers are an easy target.
Picking on anything and everything they do seems to be a fun past time for many in the public eye. An easy story to write, a simple topic to discuss. Knowing most people will nod along in agreeance, and say to themselves "Man, they have so many dramas over there!"
But lately it has reached a point of ridiculousness.
In the past week, the media were up in arms that on the eve of the round two Tigers v Newcastle Knights game, James Roberts and Daine Laurie were seen playing the poker machines up until 10pm. The Knights beat the Tigers the next day 26-4 and the frenzied whirlwind of vitriol that ensued was ridiculous. Reports that the club is in tatters, it was such a slap in the face to Maguire, and this was obviously the only reason for the Tigers loss.
St George Illawarra Dragon's player George Burgess was arrested, charged and released on bail for sexually touching another person without consent. That night on NRL360, they ran with the pokies story first.
Let that sink in for a second.
I completely understand when something is before the courts you must either refrain from or be very careful when discussing it. But it was talked about on the show - AFTER the Tigers stuff.
Then over the weekend, a story got traction that former club legend turned trainer Robbie Farah blew up deluxe on the sideline due to an interchange decision. An email read out by Mark Levy on his 2GB Continuous Call Team program from a fan in the crowd during Friday night's Tigers v New Zealand Warriors game stated, "There was an interchange, and he told the player coming off, 'Don't complain to me, it was that f**king c**t up there', pointing to the coaches box."
Farah was reportedly furious at the allegations and rejected the outburst. He later took to Twitter to not only try and clear the air, but to emphasise the amount of crap that the Tigers cop from all directions.
Laughable how the media can make a story from nothing. In the words of @marklevy2gb - "Tigers are an easy punching bag atm". He was true to his word. I'm Madge's #1 fan. Gonna have to try harder than that to tear us apart!! Nothing to see here :kissing_heart: pic.twitter.com/oZirMWQugT- robbie farah (@robbiefarah) March 27, 2022
At the same game, dressing room cameras showed injured player James Roberts sitting down scrolling on his phone. Players are banned from using their phones in the sheds, it is a rule from the NRL. Roberts will cop some flak for it - but watch it turn into something bigger than Ben-Hur.
I'm not saying that the club doesn't deserve some of the bad press they receive. They are an under-performing team that needs to do better - no one is disputing that. But there is no way they should receive everything they get. It seems easier to repeat the same old dialogue about how bad they are then discussing how much talent they have sitting on the sideline.
Tigers' fans must wake up every day thinking "what are they going to attack us for today?"
There are so many bigger matters, greater controversies and, to be perfectly frank, more interesting topics to discuss in rugby league. But there always seems to be a section available to publicly stick the knife a bit further into the Wests Tigers.
Can we move on yet?
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Analysis, Rugby League, nrl, Wests Tigers, Australia