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Wests Tigers take the totally serious option of naming five captains for 2018

The Roar logo The Roar 14/02/2018 Scott Pryde

The Wests Tigers have taken the unprecedented step of naming five captains for the 2018 NRL season, including three new recruits to the club. © Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images The Wests Tigers have taken the unprecedented step of naming five captains for the 2018 NRL season, including three new recruits to the club. The Wests Tigers have taken the unprecedented step of naming five captains for the 2018 NRL season, including three new recruits to the club.

While many clubs have gone with co-captains in recent years, the Tigers have added three on top of that as they try to find an answer to former skipper Aaron Woods, who left the club at the end of 2017 for the Bulldogs.

Among the five men to be named is club favourite and 2005 premiership-winning player Benji Marshall. It’s not clear if the half will have a role in the starting 17 this season, but he has been named in the team’s leadership group by coach Ivan Cleary.

Marshall left the Tigers in 2013 to take an opportunity with the Auckland Blues in Super Rugby. That didn’t work out though and he has since had varying levels of success back in the NRL at the St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos.

Alongside Marshall will be club stalwart Chris Lawrence, back-rower Elijah Taylor and a pair of new recruits in former Bulldogs half Josh Reynolds and front-rower Russell Packer.

Cleary didn’t say how the group would operate throughout the season.

“When we started this preseason it was pretty obvious straight away that there was no real pecking order,” the coach said.

“There was no set culture to adhere to. It was all new. That was what I wanted it to be like and that’s just how it panned out.

“With this particular team at this time I think it’s going to work best to spread that role and allow those blokes to develop in their own way.”

Reynolds comes to the club after spending all of his career so far at Canterbury. He was a favourite of the blue and white faithful and has played four State of Origin games for New South Wales. Packer has a chequered past and served time in jail for assault, but made a successful return to the NRL during 2016 and 2017 at the Dragons.

Lawrence is the only one-club player of the group, having made his debut in the black and gold in 2006. He has played six games for Australia, but never played State of Origin. Taylor, who has played 11 games for New Zealand, came to the Tigers in 2016 after stints at the New Zealand Warriors and Penrith Panthers.

The Tigers’ season opener will see them host the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, March 10.

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