Luke Brooks called into question as Adam Doueihi move sparks backlash

The Wests Tigers are winless to start the NRL season with the spine facing pressure.

Adam Doueihi reacts and Luke Brooks during training.
Will the Wests Tigers' shake-up to the spine with Adam Doueihi (pictured left) at fullback help support Luke Brooks (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Roosters great Braith Anasta has called for the struggling Wests Tigers to support Luke Brooks, despite questions being asked of Adam Doueihi's fitness with his move to fullback. Tim Sheens' men are winless after three games in 2023 and face a desperate Melbourne Storm on Friday night.

The Tigers are struggling in attack and were staring at a heavy loss to the Bulldogs, before Sheens opted for a spine shake-up and moved Doueihi to fullback and brought Brandon Wakeham on in the halves. The team responded with three tries to fall short 26-22.

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NRL 360 host Anasta noted the difference in Brooks' form when Fiji international Wakeham took to the field to partner the halfback. "Those couple of tries at the end of the game really took some pressure off the Tigers," Anasta said.

"They pushed the Bulldogs until the end. If they hadn't scored those last couple, it was very ordinary for a few weeks.

“... Give him [Brooks] some credit. He was very good at the end of the game. Maybe that [Wakeham’s addition] unlocks Brooks a little bit, that’s what they’d be hoping. He came up with a few tries that he would’ve scored in his heyday. He has it in there somewhere and we saw it.”

However, veteran NRL reporter Paul Kent didn't agree. He believes Brooks has spent plenty of time with a number of halves partners and hasn't lived-up to his price tag this year.

“Look, without trying to be a bash-up on Luke Brooks, this is his 13th season and they’re still paying him on potential and now they’ve just brought in a guy on minimum wage to come in and do the job they’re paying him over $1 million to do and he hasn’t been able to do it in the first two-and-a-half games," Kent said.

Adam Doueihi's move to fullback comes into question

While Anasta thinks the shake-up could be needed, NRL reporter David Riccio questioned Doueihi's move to fullback. Doueihi has been struggling with a foot injury, but has been named at fullback against the Storm this weekend.

“All of last week Doueihi trained one session, the captain’s run,” Riccio said. “He’s got turf toe effectively, will struggle to train this week. He’s moving to fullback, we all know how much running is involved.”

While the Wests Tigers might continue to struggle this year, Riccio believes the changes will come to the playing group rather than the coaching staff. The Tigers have appeared to bank on assistant coach Benji Marshall taking over from Sheens when the time is right.

Luke Brooks passing the ball.
Luke Brooks (pictured) has struggled for the Tigers in the opening three games of the 2023 season. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

New signing and captain Api Koroisau addressed the Tigers' attacking issues in his post-match interview after the loss to the Bulldogs. The captain agreed the team needed to get up to speed with the ruck to get ahead in the game.

“I think they haven’t had too much front-foot footy in the last few years. I’ve spoken to them about it, that takes a lot of getting used to,” he said. "It’s a reaction thing, understanding the ruck and if it’s quick. Second half it got a lot better, they were pumping out of that line so I think it’s once again something to work on at training.”

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