Saturday 21 October 2017 / 03:02 AM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: WESTS TIGERS TARGETS

With Wests Tigers gutted by the departure of three of their biggest stars, the rebuild must begin. Here are six players they must target for 2018.

James Graham

Rebuilding a club does not mean going exclusively with youth. That is a mistake the Tigers have made too often at the past. They have lost their top prop and skipper and were already short on forward depth. Graham is one of the most respected leaders and players in the game, hard-nosed with an incredible work ethic. He will bring a culture change the Tigers desperately need.

Anthony Milford

If a big-money deal could lure any big-name player away from a power club like Brisbane, Milford is the one. He was attracted to the Broncos on the same premise and there have been concerns about his work ethic in Brisbane. He is a superstar on his day and is a player that could draw other talent.

Blake Ferguson

With James Tedesco moving to the Roosters, the Chooks will need to shed talent and Ferguson will be first out the door. Signed on a big deal with the expectation he would play fullback, that hasn’t really worked out and he will be offered mid-tier centre money. He will get offers and his versatility should give the Tigers options considering they need a fullback and probably two centres and a wing.

Ben Matulino

The player on this list most likely to sign, the Warriors prop has become stale in New Zealand under a parade of underqualified coaches who continue to misuse him. A talented player on his feet, he should be used like Jesse Bromwich – a combination of force and subtlety. Will be a huge signing.

Gideon Gela-Mosby

The Cowboys speedster has been unable to get much of a crack in a deep North Queensland three-quarter line and will surely be jonesing for an opportunity. His speed is rare and he just needs some polish. David Nofoaluma is the only Tigers outside back who should be certain to retain his position in 2018.

Robbie Rochow

On the outs at Souths for reasons that make no sense, Rochow will surely be looking to move to his fourth club in five years come season’s end. He can play in the middle or on an edge, has a huge work-rate and runs strong lines.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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