The Potential of Luai to Revive Tigers vs The Vicious Cycle of Overpaying for Recruits

Wests Tigers fans have had it tough for many years. After two wooden spoons, they are desperate for the team’s fortunes to change. With a rookie coach, a fractured boardroom, an interim head of football, and the longest finals drought in the competition, the club is making a huge offer for Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai. The value of the deal reportedly stands at $4.5 million over four seasons from 2025 onwards.

While Luai is a good player, some critics feel he is not in the same league as elite playmakers. His strengths lie in being a fine running five-eighth and a secondary playmaker. However, he does struggle with his kicking game and organizing ability on the field. Despite this, the Wests Tigers are aggressively pursuing Luai, hoping he will be a major asset to the team.

However, the Tigers have a history of recruiting high-priced players who fail to fulfill their value, such as Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye. By offering Luai a massive contract, the Tigers might be setting themselves up for disappointment once again. This move indicates a lack of long-term investment in the club’s junior base.

It is evident that the Tigers are desperate to bring in new players, as the prospect of Luai taking over as the chief playmaker is being considered. This may be yet another quick fix for the Tigers, a pattern that has plagued the team for over a decade. The high-profile recruitments have overshadowed investing in young prospects and building a solid team for the future.

It might be a better move for the Panthers to retain Luai as they aim to form a strong team for the decade to come. While Luai has proven to be a good complement in the halves pairing alongside Nathan Cleary, he may not be worth the million-plus per year in a potential contract deal at this stage in his career.