2021 started off with a bang for the Tigers as they secured their second ever Australian Club Championship title, defeating Shute Shield Premiers Gordon ahead of the regular season. But it seemed that is where the shine of the club’s impressive 2020 season wore off, as the Tigers went on to suffer a dire start to the Hospital Cup.
The club dropped their first game of the season to cellar dwellers Sunnybank at home and then suffered seven straight losses before they managed to turn the tide of their season.
In the end, the Tigers were within reach of the finals finishing mid-table, after a stirring second half of the season.
The off-season has seen a changing of the guard at Tigerland, with much-loved head coach Moses Rauluni stepping down from the role, seeing premiership winning captain and former Wallaby captain Ben Mowen take over the reins in what will be his first season as a head coach within the club competition.
We caught up with Mowen to preview Easts 2022 season.
“Obviously 2021 was a season of two halves. We had a poor start and lost momentum after the Aussie Champs win,” said Mowen.
“We lost to Sunnybank in Round 1 and then we got stuck in a spiral of bad form. The team worked hard to turn it around and they ended up within grasp of the finals. It tells me there is drive within the team and they want to what to improve.”
“I think the ambition at Easts is that we want to build consistency. History tells us that when we win a Grand Final, we then fall away for three-four seasons and go through the cycle again. We want to consistently be competing and winning premierships year-in-year-out. That is one of the big driving messages for us this year, we want to lift that expectation for the club as a whole.
“In terms of Premier Grade, we have a huge focus on how many extra possessions we can gain in a game. Forced turnovers is a high focus, our ambition is to be a high scoring team and to do that we need extra possessions and to be applying pressure where we can.”
Zac Shepperd – Randwick/Sunnybank Shea Lalagavesi – Wests Laurence Tominiko – Sunnybank Jeff Faamausili – Sunnybank Jordan Carriera – Ipswich Jets
Ethan Richards – work sabbatical
EASTS PLAYER TO WATCH
“Jordan has out-and-out speed to burn. He can play centre or wing and has come across from League.
“He played in the Reds A vs Western Force trial earlier this year and didn’t look out of place, with the right exposure in big games I think he will turn some heads this year.”
OPPOSITION PLAYER TO WATCH
Pat Morrey (UQ) and Michael Richards (GPS)
“Pat Morrey and Michael Richards – those two guys have huge impacts on games.
“They’re good game managers and smart players and they both play lock and backrow. If you look at the success of those two clubs over the past few years it comes down to good leadership, they’re two players you need to ensure have a quiet game when you play them.”