Embattled Wests Tigers half Luke Brooks has hit back his critics, declaring he “couldn’t care less” what they say because they’ve “never done anything in the game.”
Brooks is one of the most criticised players in the NRL and after being moved from halfback — where he’s played majority of his career — to five-eighth the heat was turned up even more.
Tigers coach Michael Maguire has made a raft of changes, including the Brooks one, ahead of Monday’s clash with the Eels in a desperate bid to get the club’s first win of the season.
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Jackson Hastings returns from suspension in the No.7 jersey and it’s understood he will be chief playmaker with Brooks taking a step back.
The blowtorch has been put on Brooks since the changes have been made with many questioning whether he’ll keep his spot in the 17 when Adam Doueihi — arguably the Tigers’ best player — returns from a knee injury later this season.
Brooks has played 177 NRL games for the Tigers since debuting in 2013 but is yet to steer them to a finals appearance. It’s one of the biggest criticisms the 27-year-old has copped over recent seasons.
But Brooks told reporters on Wednesday that he’s used to the “digs” and returned serve to his critics.
“(I) just try to block it out and don’t listen to it. It’s hard to fully block it out because there’s always going to be something that someone brings up, but for me personally I don’t listen to it,” he said.
“I’m used to it now, everyone has their digs.
“But at the same time a lot of people have never done anything in the game, so I couldn’t care less what they say about me. I’m just focused on playing good footy.”
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Brooks, via The Sydney Morning Herald, doubled down on his response to the criticism.
“I’m off all socials, and all that stuff. It’s hard to stay away from it in this day and age, but I do my best to not listen to any of it,” he said.
“That’s their jobs, to sell newspapers and get TV ratings. And I guess if it’s on me, it’s going to be on me. It is what it is. It’s part of the game.
“I’ve learnt to not worry about it. A lot of people that are writing stuff, they’ve never played the game. They’re adding their two cents, but why would I listen to what they say?
“The only opinions that matter to me are the people at this club. That’s all that matters.”
He believes he plays his “best footy” when he runs the ball and conceded he hasn’t “done that over the last two weeks,”
“That’s the thing Madge and I spoke about — getting what works for me (right) and playing my best footy. That’s running the ball. So, yeah, I guess that’s the thought behind it — get me running a bit more,” he said.
“It was a conversation we both agreed on. If it’s going to help our team, I’m all for it.
“It’s tough at the moment. We’re not getting the results, but everyone is still positive. I’m staying positive, and I’m just blocking out the outside noise.
“There’s plenty of the season to go, we’re still confident that we can make something of the season. We’ve made some changes and the boys that are coming in are keen to get their shot.”
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According to the Herald, Brooks denied reports that he requested a release over the summer to join the Knights. He also declared his desire to remain at the Tigers for the rest of his career.
“I’ve got this year and next to go at the Tigers. I’m committed, and anyone who knows me know that if I’m here I’m going to be fully committed,” he said.
“That’s something I’ll have to think about. Being a one-club player is a massive thing, and it’s pretty rare these days.
“It would be great for me to do that, but it’s also a business. And it doesn’t happen very often.”