Former NSW coach Brad Fittler believes Jarome Luai doesn’t need to replicate Nathan Cleary’s style of play to justify his $1.2 million price tag with the Wests Tigers. Fittler emphasizes the presence of Tigers hooker Apisai Koroisau as a crucial factor in Luai’s potential success, having handed Luai his Origin debut.
Fittler, acknowledging Luai’s ability to thrive on challenges, states, “I’d suggest he’ll find a way to do it. He puts up with a lot, Jarome, and he seems to have that ability to use it to push himself.” While stressing the importance of ticking certain game management boxes, Fittler believes that as long as the playmaking spine collectively covers these aspects, Luai could successfully take on the halfback role.
Regarding Penrith coach Ivan Cleary’s concerns about Luai’s playmaking credentials, Fittler points out Luai’s role as the chief playmaker in the last year’s World Cup, steering his team to the final against the Kangaroos. Fittler also highlights the potential benefit of having Tigers coach Benji Marshall, who transitioned into the playmaker role during his career, as an influential figure for Luai.
Fittler concludes by noting Luai’s untapped potential, citing his impressive long kick and the guidance he received from playing alongside Cleary, one of the best at the kicking game. Fittler challenges assumptions about Luai’s capabilities, suggesting that the player’s adaptability and skills make him well-suited for the challenges ahead.