The Wests Tigers are a Sydney-based professional Rugby League Club representing the Inner West and Western Sydney.
The first four seasons though were full of challenges for Wests Tigers.
The club lost Jarrod McCracken to a career-ending neck injury mid-way through 2000, Wayne Pearce decided to hang up his clipboard after one season, and on and off-field incidents had the club often in the news for the wrong reasons.
After two seasons with Bulldogs great, and former Wests player, Terry Lamb at the helm, Wests Tigers appointed three-time premiership-winning mentor, Tim Sheens.
After a more stable 2003, in which young guns Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall and Liam Fulton all made their debuts, the club recruited a number of experienced players for the 2004 season including Brett Hodgson, Pat Richards, Paul Whatuira, Shane Elford, Scott Sattler and Scott Prince.
The young stars and seasoned campaigners combined to help Wests Tigers to the club’s first-ever tournament win at the 2004 World Sevens event.
The 2004 season ended with the club winning ten matches through the regular NRL season – the clubs second-best year on record at that time (the 2000 team claimed 11 wins and 2 draws).
The Wests Tigers won their maiden premiership in 2005, remarkably in the club’s first-ever foray into the finals!
Even more incredibly, Wests Tigers were $151 outsiders mid-season and again looked likely to miss out on even playing finals football.
A club-record eight-game winning streak towards the end of the regular season was the catalyst for the fairytale result.
The Wests Tigers took all before them in the finals, defeating North Queensland and Brisbane convincingly, before a giant-killing 20-12 win over the Dragons in the Preliminary Final at Allianz Stadium.
A week later, the side triumphed 30-16 in the Grand Final against the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium.
They were coached by Tim Sheens and captained by Scott Prince.
The following four seasons brought plenty of frustration and near misses for Wests Tigers, with 12th, 9th, 10th, and 11th place finishes respectively between 2006 and 2009, as they failed to capitalize on the success of the 2005 Premiership.
Seasons 2010 and 2011 brought a return to winning ways, with the club achieving 15 wins in both seasons, finishing 3rd in 2010 and 4th in 2011 at the end of the regular season.
The 2010 Preliminary Final brought heartbreak, beaten 13-12 by the Dragons at ANZ Stadium, whilst in 2011 the club suffered a last-minute 22-20 defeat to the Warriors at Allianz Stadium in Week 2 of the finals.
Despite the near misses, the club was still one of the biggest drawcards in the NRL in terms of crowds and TV ratings, predominantly due to the Wests Tigers often flamboyant playing style.
In 2012 the bookies had the Tigers as Premiership favorites, but the Wests Tigers had a disappointing season finishing in 10th place.
This culminated in the sacking of Premiership winning coach Tim Sheens after ten years at the club.
Wests Tigers finished 15th, 13th, 15th, 9th, 14th and 9th from 2013 to 2018 as they narrowly missed the finals in both 2016 and 2018.
The club was blindsided towards the end of 2018 when coach Ivan Cleary took up an offer to go back to Penrith, leaving Wests Tigers to search for a fifth coach in the last seven seasons.
Following the loss of Ivan Cleary, Wests Tigers appointed former Souths and Wigan boss, Michael Maguire, as the club’s new head coach.
The 2019 season proved to be a bit of a mixed bag for the Tigers with some improved performances and a few costly slip-ups that took their toll and kept the club once again agonizingly close to finals football.
Eleven wins and thirteen losses in the season left the Wests Tigers on 24 competition points, just one point short of the eighth-placed Brisbane Broncos, but with a better for and against the Queensland-based team.
Wests Tigers farewelled retiring club legend, Robbie Farah, at the end of the 2019 season. Other departures included Ryan Matterson (Eels), Robbie Rochow (retirement), Mahe Fonua (Super League) and Esan Masters (Cowboys).
The 2020 Wests Tigers campaign looked to have been strengthened by the recruitment of a number of new faces including Adam Doueihi, Billy Walters and the Leilua brothers, Luciano and Joey.
Unfortunately, despite the new additions, it was business as usual for the Tigers with the club again missing the finals. The end of 2020 also saw club greats Chris Lawrence (retirement) and Benji Marshall (TBA) leave the club.
Season 2021 again ended with the Wests Tigers missing the semi-final series. The season was highlighted by the debut of promising youngsters such as Diane Laurie and Stefano Utoikamanu.
While fans were given an unprecedented look behind closed door with the production of the four-part FOX Sports Wild Wests, Tales from Tiger Town documentary.
Late in 2021 it was announced that Premiership winning coach Tim Sheens would rejoin the club after a long sting coaching in the UK.
The Wests Tigers 2022 season started after an off-season of turmoil that saw Head of Football Adam Hartigan removed from his position, while Michael Maguire managed to hold on to the coaching reins after surviving an off-season review.
On the field, Wests Tigers continued to struggle, despite two rare glimpses of hope – memorable field goal victories over high-flying Souths and Parramatta, and pressure continued to build on the coach.
Halfway through the year, with losses piling up, new Head of Football Tim Sheens announced Maguire would be sacked with immediate effect.
Brett Kimmorley, who was working in the club’s pathways program was handed the reins on an interim basis. During his stint though, Kimmorley only managed to help the side to one victory and this assured the club of last place at the end of the season.
This was the first time Wests Tigers had won the dreaded ‘Wooden Spoon’.
Late in the season, it was announced that Tim Sheens would take over once again as the Wests Tigers coach for seasons 2023 and 24, with Benji Marshall taking the clipboard and whistle from 2025.
With a new coach in place, and Grand Finalists Isaiah Papali’i and Api Korisau joining in 2023, Tigers fans had some reason to feel a little more optimistic.
While in a rare bright spot for the club in 2022, the ribbon was cut on the new Wests Tigers Centre of Excellence in Concord.
They also play home games at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, and often host a match in Tamworth.
Wests Tigers Club Records (2000-18)
Biggest Winning Margin:
- 52 points — 56-4 vs. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium, Round 21, 2008
- 52 points — 54-2 vs. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Telstra Stadium, Round 24, 2005
Longest Winning Streak:
- 8 games — Round 16, 2005 to Round 24, 2005
- 24 points — Won 36-32 vs. Newcastle Knights, Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Round 21, 2001
Most First Grade Matches for Wests Tigers:
- 277 — Robbie Farah (2003-16 and 2018-19)
- 257 — Benji Marshall (2003-13 and 2018-20)
- 253 — Chris Lawrence (2006-20)
- 201 — Chris Heighington (2003-12)
- 186* – Luke Brooks (2013-)
- 185 — John Skandalis (2000-06, 09-10)
Most Tries in a Match:
- 4 — Kevin McGuinness vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs, Aussie Stadium, Round 21, 2002
- 4 — Marika Koroibete vs. Parramatta Eels, Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Round, 2012
- 4 — Keith Lulia vs. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium, Round 19, 2014
Most Tries in a Season:
- 21 — Taniela Tuiaki (2009)
Most Tries for the Club:
- 95 – David Nofoaluma
- 84 — Chris Lawrence
- 84 — Benji Marshall
- 68 — Robbie Farah
- 52 — Pat Richards
- 50 — James Tedesco
Most Points in a Season:
- 308 — Brett Hodgson (2005)
Most Points for the Club:
- 1181 — Benji Marshall (84 tries, 416 goals, 13 field goals)
- 786 — Brett Hodgson (38 tries, 317 goals)
- 526 — Joel Caine (26 tries, 211 goals)
- 446 — Pat Richards (52 tries, 118 goals, 2 field goals)
- 380* – David Nofoaluma (95 tries)
- 342 — Chris Lawrence (83 tries, 3 goals)