What is it with journalists from the Daily Telegraph and the need to rip into the Wests Tigers at every possible opportunity?
After a tough few weeks for fans, the team showed a lot of heart to score three unanswered tries in the last 10 minutes of play against Manly to win on Saturday evening.
If you’re listening to the Daily Telegraph, however, you could be forgiven for not knowing that the Tigers won on the weekend and thinking that the club is in absolute turmoil.
To start with, the Telegraph published a story that the Tigers only had three hundred thousand dollars of available cap space for next year to sign 3 players. However, this turned out to be a complete fabrication because the club is trying to sign Josh Addo-Carr.
There is nothing that makes a fan base angrier towards a struggling club than the news that they have no salary cap space which is exactly the reason why the Telegraph wrote the story.
Now this week, Paul Kent (who I have a lot of respect for as a journalist) is making the claim that Josh Reynolds and Russell Packer leaving the Manly game at halftime is an indicator of the poor culture at the club.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s disappointing for two squad members to leave at halftime because it shows that they’re not as invested in the result compared to the fans but to suggest that the actions of two players signed under a different coach who are seemingly on the outer represents the culture of the whole organization is completely off the mark.
If you ask me, Kent is highlighting only part of the story to help prove his argument and is ignoring other factors that might prove the Tigers culture is improving.
The Tigers aren’t coming dead last. They’re higher than a lot of other teams that have superior rosters with more talent.
The top 3 highest-paid players aren’t producing anywhere near their price tags but the team has still found a way to be more competitive than teams like the Bulldogs and Titans who also had salary cap drama in recent years.
Add that to the fact that the Tigers have received no luck with the back end of the draw this year points to the fact that the team has down very well to even be 9th with three rounds to go.
With not much to play for against Manly, I’m positive that most of the bottom eight teams would have shut up shop in the final 10 minutes being down by three tries.
The Tigers however dug in deep for each other and the fans which I think is a sign of a good culture. I’ll even go a step further and say that if the same thing happened to the Sydney Roosters, there wouldn’t even be a story and the media would be highlighting how strong their culture is.
As a fan, I’ve seen a lot of players who participated in the NSW Cup not stick around to watch first-grade from a range of different teams so I don’t even think that this is a problem isolated to the Tigers.
Once the Telegraph gets a sniff however, they don’t let up and seem to take every possible chance to put a negative spin on any story related to the Wests Tigers.
Now Paul Crawley is accusing the West Tigers of neglecting the welfare of Russell Packer and Josh Reynolds and accusing the club of leaking information to the media to try and offload the two players.
This is ridiculous and I worry that Tigers fans might listen to this rubbish.
Now I don’t know if the club has acted in the way that Crawley is accusing them off but newsflash, every club has players that they would offload if they could to free up salary-cap space.
A story recently got published about Angus Crichton needing to take a pay-cut if he wanted to stay at the Roosters but I don’t hear Crawley accusing the Roosters of neglecting the welfare of their player.
This is the double standard that the Tigers face against the Telegraph.
If the Tigers keep Packer and Reynolds on their books without trying to offload them, they’re a team that accepts mediocrity and deserves to be moved to Perth.
Trying to move them on, however, is shocking treatment according to Crawley. The club can’t win.
Everyone has their different opinions and I truly believe that the Tigers criticism is sometimes warranted but the simple truth is that Packer and Reynolds have vastly underperformed since coming to the Tigers which is why the club is trying to move them on.
Now don’t get me wrong, the players are 100 percent within their rights to sit on their contracts and take the money that is owed to them but to accuse the Tigers of doing the same actions that all the other 16 clubs with players that don’t perform perfectly shows that the Telegraph aren’t being objective when covering the Tigers.
The reason for this in my opinion is because the Tigers have a history of underperforming and a large fan base which makes them an easy target for the Telegraph.
Negative headlines more often than not also create more interest for fans which is why the Telegraph is taking advantage of this opportunity to tear into the club while the opportunity presents itself.
Tigers fans shouldn’t snub the Telegraph nor should they take what the club says as gospel truth. We should however realize that whenever the Telegraph covers a story about the Tigers, they’re more likely to put a negative spin on the situation because a shocking story is more interesting and profitable than the truth.
In all these negative stories about the Tigers, I would bet nobody from the Telegraph has reached out to the club to try and get their side of the argument which is a classic sign of a tabloid newspaper.