Inaugural Wests Tigers NRLW captain Botille Vette-Walsh says key signings Kezie Apps and Sarah Togatuki can lead the club to a premiership.
Apps, the Jillaroos and NSW representative, and former Roosters prop Sarah Togatuki will add starch to the Tigers’ forward pack, while fullback Vette-Walsh – who also inked a deal to stay at the club – is one of the most exciting attacking players in the competition.
“You always sign contracts for a team that’s going to win in NRLW, you don’t ever go to a club and hope to build. You want to be there from the start and stamp your feet,” Vette-Welsh said.
“We’re not here to be a number, we’re not here to just compete against clubs. We’re here to represent the Wests Tigers and do a good job at it.
“100 per cent [we can win a premiership], whether that’s this year or next year, I believe we can if we work hard enough, and we buy into the whole idea of being competitive … I think we have got all the capabilities in the world to win a premiership.”
The Wests Tigers are among four new teams in the league in 2023, along with the Sharks, Raiders and Cowboys.
Botille Vette-Welsh has been named the inaugural captain of the Wests Tigers NRLW side.Credit:NRL imagery
Apps is optimistic the women’s team can help rejuvenate the club and its fans following a fifth-straight loss to start the season for the men’s team.
“The clubs who have got both NRL and NRLW teams are lucky because depending on how the NRL team goes, you’ve still got the NRLW, so they can ride both waves as a club,” Apps said.
“When it starts the fans and all the members can jump on the back of our NRLW team, and hopefully, we can do them proud as well as ourselves.”
Signing experienced campaigners like Vette-Welsh, Apps and Togatuki was important for the team to find success, said head coach Brett Kimmorley. And the three will play a key role in mentoring a group which will be largely inexperienced at an NRLW level.
“Those three players are quality players, quality people, quality leaders, and we think it’s very important signing for us as a club,” Kimmorley said.
“Success is extremely hard to get in the men and women’s game, so we don’t expect to get it, we certainly have to work hard and earn it.”
The Wests Tigers will need to start their season on the front foot, Vette-Welsh said. And there are a few things she’s looking for from her team when pre-season training begins on May 29.
“A lot of toughness, [and] a lot of effort, whether you’re the most talented or not, you can’t fault effort ever, and a lot of mongrel,” Vette-Welsh said.
“I want to be known as a tough competitive team, and we are going to go out there and put everything on the line for our clubs, for our families and for each other.”
The draw for the 2023 NRLW season is expected to be released this week.
Stream the NRL Premiership 2023 live and free on 9Now.
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