By Jaydem Martin
The Suzuki Brisbane Tigers 2021 season can be summed up in their first month. It was a month that showed what they were capable of, and a month that showed them at their lowest. Round 1 & 2 saw heavy defeats as they only managed 10 points in two games, but they were able to bounce back with a big win over the Burleigh Bears that saw them rack up 50 on the scoreboard, followed with another strong win a week later against the Ipswich Jets which gave the Tigers fans a sense of hope they might be in for an entertaining year.
Unfortunately, it would be a season of ups and downs, heartbreak losses and ultimately a year to reflect on where it all went wrong. They struggled when it came to fielding a regular seventeen with strike weapons such as Brenko Lee dealing with injury issues, and fullback/centre Gerald Beale leaving Queensland after being signed to the St George Illawarra Dragons and making his return to the NRL.
Hooker Aaron Booth, along with forwards Jordan Grant and Aaron Pene were having big impacts in the first half of the season with Booth earning the most points in the team, but their commitments to the Melbourne Storm would take away their valuable services during the backend of the year.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though for the Tigers. When they were on their attacked showed a lot of promise and at times, they appeared unstoppable with convincing wins over the Bears, Hunters and the Cutters, however inconsistency would be their Achilles’ heel as they struggled to capitalise on momentum and string together a succession of wins.
Despite their shaky season the Tigers still found themselves on the verge of finishing in the finals for most of the year. Some very close defeats didn’t help such as narrowly losing to the Dolphins 14-12 in round 7, and four consecutive losses against Northern Pride, Sunshine Coast Falcons, runner ups Wynnum Manly Seagulls and the Burleigh Bears in matches that were all decided by two converted tries or less. With two of those teams finishing in the top-four it proved that the Tigers could still challenge the top teams of the 2021 Intrust Super Cup campaign.
A key matchup in round 13 that saw them lose to the Ipswich Jets in a game where at times the Tigers seemed to be in control, but a few defensives lapses and a lack of discipline would prove to be costly and any chance of the Tigers reaching the top-eight seemed to have evaporated.
Some of their standout players included halfback and Captain Darren Nicholls who steered his team around the park while picking up 11 try assists and 12 line break assists in 16 games. Bennet Leslie delivered big minutes each game he played and had no problem being the workhorse in the middle, while Mitch Frei had a great season in the second row. Kea Pere and Storm allocated player Dean Ieremia ended the season on top of the try scoring list for the Tigers with six tries, while newcomer and Tigers 2021 Rookie of the Year Haele Finau provided some good service out of dummy half and is a player to watch for in the future.
Tigers fans might feel disappointed with finishing 11th on the ladder and only recording 4 wins is not up to Tigers standards, but many of the factors that resulted in a poor season were out of their control. If they can keep together a solid spine and a consistent halves combination, along with a strong forward pack and playing disciplined footy then they should find themselves in a good position in 2022 and once again in finals contention.
2021 Club Record
Avg. Points Scored: 21
Avg. Points Conceded: 26
2021 Player Achievements
Most Goals: Aaron Booth (21)
Most Tries: Kea Pere (6) and Dean Ieremia (6)
Most Points: Aaron Booth (58)
Most Tackles: Bennet Leslie (521)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Will Samuel was awarded the Best and Fairest for the Tigers 2021 season and it’s hard to argue. He was tremendous up front and played a major role in the Tigers go forward and featured in each of the Tigers wins by helping his team lay the platform they needed. His standout performance in round 3 against the Burleigh Bears saw him pick up a try scoring double, 2 line breaks and 5 tackles breaks as the Tigers put the Bears to the sword.
2021 Season Statistics
Post Contact Metres: 453.4
Tackle Efficiency: 88.9%
Average Running Metres: 109
Main Image: Scott Davis