Cooper Cronk pours cold water over 'romance' around Wests Tigers

The four-time premiership winner believes the feel-good factor can only take the Tigers so far in the 2023 season.

Pictured right is NRL legend Cooper Cronk and Wests Tigers assistant coach Benji Marshall on the left.
NRL legend Cooper Cronk (R) has reservations about the Wests Tigers for 2023 despite the return of club icons such as Benji Marshall to the coaching setup. Pic: AAP

Eric the clown from Seinfeld said it best. "You're living in the past, man…you're hung up on some clown from the 60s, " he tells George Costanza when Costanza hassles him about not knowing Bozo the clown.

You can’t cling onto your past, man, no matter how good it was. Unless you're the desperate-for-success Wests Tigers.

It's 2005 vibes all over at Concord as the key architects of that year's premiership triumph – Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah – reunite in a coaching triumvirate dripping in nostalgia and feel-good flashbacks.

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Could some of that '05 magic rub off nearly two decades later and see the good times roll again for a club without a finals appearance since 2011? Hard-nosed NRL types have serious doubts and have cautioned against looking in the rear-view mirror.

"I thought their performance in the trial against the Raiders was very impressive," four-time premiership winner Cooper Cronk said. "Their stye of footy was great. They'd zing the ball from left to right and their play was quite expansive.

"I like the romance and I like (the fact) Benji, Sheens, Farah are all back, but '05 was 18 years ago and the game's changed a lot. The thing I've learned about the Tigers when they talk about '05 is it's all about promoting the ball and scoring tries – points, points, points.

"I get that but defence is still king. Unless they've got a defensive system that will limit the opposition, I don't think an attacking mindset's going to be the big issue.

"I really like the idea of going back to the '05 crew but whether that language is right in 2023, we'll find out."

Seen here, Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie offloads the ball during the pre-season match against the Canberra Raiders.
Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie offloads the ball during the pre-season match against the Canberra Raiders at Belmore Sports Ground. Pic: Getty (Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images)

Tigers legend urging caution despite promising signs

Tigers great Steve Roach is not preparing to party like it's 2005. Not just yet.

He's after deeds from the Tigers, not words. Big Blocker told Yahoo Sport Australia: "2005 is a hundred years ago – I was still in nappies!

"We haven't kicked a ball yet so maybe you can make comparisons to 2005 after the regular season because it's all a bit of a guessing game at the moment.

"You can have all these stories in the press and all this support and exposure, but if you don’t win games it doesn't really matter.

"Tigers supporters are the best in the game and they want to believe the hype. They will really get behind this team if they start winning."

The Tigers' premiership campaign gets underway on Sunday week against the Titans at Leichhardt Oval.

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