As the Wests Tigers look to build a premiership roster going forward, the club has been linked to a current NSW and Australian representative player Josh Addo-Carr which is just a huge boost going into 2021.
As part of the deal, it appears that the Tigers have offered the Fox a chance to transition into the Fullback position in the pre-season and although I support this decision, I can’t help but worry that the club will be looking for yet another fullback next year if the experiment fails.
Outside-backs such as Zac Lomax and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak have tried to make the transition to fullback with not much success recently, but there’s no doubt that despite this, Addo-Carr is still a really smart decision for the club.
The Tigers have come out and stated that they’re only prepared to pay Addo-Carr top winger money which is smart because if worse comes to worst, fans will get to see the best winger combination in the NRL alongside David Nofoaluma.
The question that must be asked about this move, however, is what happens if the Fox can’t make the transition to Fullback?
Wests Tigers have struggled to find a permanent replacement for the one jersey since James Tedesco left at the end of 2017 and Tigers fans have learned just how hard it is for players to make a successful transition.
While I’m sure that Addo-Carr can play fullback, there’s no doubt that the Tigers need some flexibility and insurance for next year.
In comes Charlie Staines, the young gun from Penrith.
Staines, who is known for scoring 6 tries in two games on the wing for Penrith this year, is one of the best up and coming natural Fullbacks in the game.
Like the Fox, Staines has exceptional speed but has also grown up playing in the number one jersey which means that he’s familiar with the technical side of the position. The Tigers salary cap for next year looks to be tight but Staines should be considered a priority.
Although the Bulldogs are also chasing the Penrith youngster, surely the prospect of moving to a team that’s won just two games isn’t something a young player would be keen on doing even if Trent Barrett is the coach.
From the games I’ve seen, there’s no doubt in my mind that Staines will turn into a great number one no matter where he ends up.
Having won the Jersey Flegg player of the year award in 2019, Staines has a game very similar to Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Although not the strongest passer of the ball, Staines’s natural abilities are something that Maguire and the Tigers desperately need going forward.
Signing both Addo-Carr and Staines would be an absolute masterstroke from the club’s recruitment.
Signing both players on the condition that whoever performs to the highest level will get the Fullback jumper will set the club up long term.
Since Charlie Staines is still a young player, it’s not realistic to expect a full season from him at Fullback. If this is the case, you can put Addo-Carr to Fullback and play Staines on the wing which gives him time to ease into first grade.
If Addo-Carr excels at Fullback, great news for the club. If he doesn’t, then the Tigers will still have an amazing back three with Staines at Fullback and Nofoaluma plus Addo-Carr on the wings.
That is a back three I would kill for!