Wests Tigers star Adam Doueihi has dropped a selection bomb by asking interim coach Brett Kimmorley to pick him in the NSW Cup if he won’t select the gunball player in his favorite position of five-eighth.
Doueihi, the Wests Tigers’ best player last season, has been selected at the centers this week as the Tigers continue to look for the club’s first win since Kimmorley took the lead in round 14.
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Fox Sports has learned from Tigers insiders that Doueihi reached out to Kimmorley on Tuesday to ask about playing five-eighth in the NSW Cup after the coach selected him at the centers.
Tigers head of football Tim Sheens then softened the potential deadlock as the club searches for answers to try and finish a four-game loss streak.
Ever the professional, as of Wednesday morning, Doueihi was ready to put the team first, training in the centers at Tigers Concord HQ.
The Tigers have told Doueihi that they consider his best position to be five-eighth and that they intend to give him every chance to play there, but he will line up in the centers for Saturday’s game against Parramatta at Leichhardt Oval.
Doueihi has set a record several times and states that five-eighth is his preferred position, meaning the Tigers have a new game-making problem about how to put three ball players in two positions.
Interim coach Kimmorley has named Jackson Hastings at halfback and Luke Brooks at five-eighth for the Round 17 game against the Eels.
The Tigers hatched a plan to beat Brooks after losing round 15 to Canterbury, but then came back and pushed through with Brooks in five-eighth in round 16 against the Warriors.
Brooks also played a dummy half when Doueihi was brought in and Hastings was shifted from the right to the left last weekend.
Doueihi played 14 games at five-eighth for the Wests Tigers and six games at the centers last season and was consistently the struggling club’s top player.
As the club’s best player, the Tigers should definitely pick him in the position he wants to play.
Doueihi, a junior from Balmain, also has no contract at the end of 2023, meaning rival clubs will be free to make offers from November 1.
All three Tigers playmakers – Doueihi, Hastings and Brooks – will be out of contract at the end of next season.
The Tigers have taken an ultra-conservative approach with Doueihi, starting from the bench in his first two games since returning from an ACL rebuild.
The Tigers have been completely defeated 30-4 by Manly, 36-12 by Canterbury-Bankstown and 22-2 by the Warriors since Kimmorley took over when Michael Maguire was eliminated.
In 240 minutes of football they have only scored three tries.
The issue is compounded as the Wests Tigers government continues to drop the ball off the field from one issue to another.
After being forced to spend $800,000 to sack Maguire mid-season with one year left on his contract, the Tigers missed their No. 1 coaching target in Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo.
The search for a new coach continues like the club’s power brokers and even now players continue to complain about leaks from the walls of Concord.
Playmaker Brooks fronted the media on Tuesday, targeting the Wests Tigers government over information leaked internally.
The whole episode is a bad scene as the club tries to find the right coach to fix a club that has long been considered a basket case.