Api Koroisau's message to Wests Tigers fans after 'tasteless' comment
The new Tigers captain has put the drama of last year behind him.
New Wests Tigers captain Api Koroisau said he wants to win over the fans with his on-field performances after the drama surrounding his leadership role. Koroisau caused a stir last year when he made disparaging remarks about the Tigers during the Penrith Panthers' premiership parade.
The former Penrith No.9 was asked about his team's back-to-back grand final triumphs and jokingly said "and I'll probably do the same at the Tigers" before bursting out laughing. Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis labelled Koroisau's comment as 'tasteless' before reaching out to the No.9 to smooth things over.
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However, in a surprise to many fans, veteran coach Tim Sheens named Koroisau as the club captain for 2023. Sheens was adamant the players were ready to follow the Origin star after the big decision.
There has been plenty of confusion over the decision to hand Koroisau the role and the No.9 has admitted fans won't forget about his comment anytime soon. "I don't think it will be (forgotten), and I have no qualms with that," Koroisau said on Wednesday.
"I made that choice and I am accountable for my actions. So it is what it is." While the fans may be confused over the decision, the playing group is less so after voting for Koroisau as their new captain.
And the former Penrith player believes the drama is behind the club and the focus is on making NRL finals footy. "Since the day I got in it's just about playing better footy," Koroisau said.
"There's a saying: Winning solves everything. On a club level or playing level, we just have to make sure we understand that. "Winning football games is the difference for everyone in the club and the way we do that is by training hard and making sure we do the little things right."
Koroisau, alongside coach Tim Sheens and mentor-in-waiting Benji Marshall, are in charge of ending the Tigers' 11 year wait to reach NRL finals.
Api Koroisau confident in Tigers squad
The Tigers have made recruitments in 2023 in an attempt to turnaround the club's poor performances. Along with Koroisau and John Bateman, the Tigers have also bought genuine frontline talent in former NSW Origin prop David Klemmer and form second-rower Isaiah Papali'i.
On Wednesday, Koroisau was singing his team's praises and was confident the club will play finals football. "The team we have now and what I am seeing at training, they are top-tier," he added.
"You have some really good competitors and some really experienced guys who really know what they're doing."
Sheens spoke to 2GB Radio of Koroisau's appointment and backed the players' decision to pick the new recruit. He also dismissed any notion the comments from last year were hanging over the club captain. "What's done with a few beers in you after a grand final is..." Sheens said of his new captain.
“And of course the media are always going to hound you, and that’s the nature of the internet these days. Things are always out there. He hadn’t even arrived at the club at the time, and I’m happy with what’s happened since he got here and so are the players. So, again, I stress that they are the ones who have to be led by (Koroisau), and they felt (being) led by him is the way to go.”
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