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Wests Tigers joined by Gold Coast Titans as $3.50 wooden spoon favourites

Posted on 23/02 by Joe Gann

Wests Tigers joined by Gold Coast Titans as $3.50 wooden spoon favourites
Ivan Cleary names a quintet of captains in a bid to unite his squad.

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Tigers coach Ivan Cleary has taken the unusual step of naming five co-captains for the upcoming season, in a bid to encourage shared leadership responsibilities within his playing group. Illustrating an absence of a pecking order within the makeup of the squad has been an important message for Cleary to communicate to his charges, and the consolidation of a strong team bond is fundamental to his thinking.

Benji Marshall, Russell Packer, Josh Reynolds, Chris Lawrence and Elijah Taylor are the players who have been named in the shared role, and this unorthodox approach heralds a new culture at the club following the departures of star names Aaron Woods and James Tedesco.

With no obvious candidate at hand to take on the role, Cleary is eager to see how the experiment progresses and whether a stand-out figure emerges. Until then he is more than happy for each of those selected to contribute their unique individual qualities to the side.

The recent pre-season win over the Cowboys won’t have done confidence at the club any harm; the Tigers produced a performance full of enthusiasm which must have pleased Cleary with preparations for the new campaign now at an advanced stage. With nine new additions on board, the benefit of an injury-free pre-season and an absence of the drama generated by the Robbie Farrah and Jason Taylor feud that marred last season, the Wests possess a settled, focused group this time around.

Cleary has undertaken this latest rebuilding job after enjoying successful stints at Penrith and Warriors, who he inherited in similar circumstances to the one he now faces at Concord. Then, the wholesale changes he implemented led to finals runs; although joint-favourites for the spoon, if Cleary can recreate the kind turnaround that he oversaw at his previous sides, the Tigers may even have an outside shot at the top-eight.

The Tigers are $5.00 for a top-eight finish and $3.50 joint-favourites with the Titans for the wooden spoon.

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