Rising hooker Jake Simpkin has been hailed the future of the Wests Tigers after he created history and made the most tackles on debut for a Tigers joint-venture player.
Simpkin was sensational in his maiden first grade appearance against a formidable South Sydney side, playing 82 minutes and making 51 tackles in a thrilling loss to the Rabbitohs.
The Toowoomba junior’s 51 tackles is the most by a Tigers player on debut since the joint venture was formed in 2000. He also made the second most tackles on debut in the NRL era since 1998.
Newcastle Knights hooker Chris Randall holds the league-wide tackling record after amassing 68 tackles on debut last year.
Jake Simpkin is destined for big things in the NRL. Picture: Matt King/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Regardless, Simpkin is destined for big things in the NRL, according to Tigers captain James Tamou.
“I’ve never seen a debut like that for a while, especially a hooker playing in the middle and playing over 80 minutes is massive,” Tamou said.
“On the NRL stage and against a big pack like Souths, Jake did an amazing job.
“When you are going through the process, you are unearthing some of this talent, and the Tigers have got a bundle of it who will get their turn soon.
“But a player like (Jake) doesn’t come along very often, and I think we are on to something good here.
“It is just up to us to slowly build him up along the way and do our best to make sure he is at his best, but he has got a long career ahead of him.”
Simpkin is expected to retain the starting hooker position for the Tigers’ Anzac Day clash against Manly at Bankwest Stadium.
The 19-year-old is contracted until the end of the 2022 season, but Tigers officials are expected to extend his contract to keep him at Concord long term.
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