“You look at Jimmy, he was the NSW centre just [two years ago],” Tahu said. “That’s where I expect him and BJ to be as well. They just need to believe in it.
“One of the reasons I’m there is to give them that belief. They are natural strike weapons. There’s not too much to teach on the field.
“I feel they should be the NSW centres, for sure.”
Asked about mentoring Roberts, Tahu said: “I’m not his dad. I want to be more of a friend and have a working relationship.
“I don’t want me walking into the room [and him] thinking, ‘Here we go again, another person telling me how I should be behaving or thinking.’
“That’s just not me. My job is to see what he and Madge want and to collaborate to be part of Jimmy’s career, and the other boys as well.”
As for Talau, Tahu still remembers playing against his father, Willie, early in his career.
“I think it was my first year, I played against his old man,” he said. “He was an international, a tough centre. As a young kid you look at the best centres and replicate what they’re doing. To now be a consultant and helping his son, I’m very grateful.”
Tahu’s appointment comes just as the Tigers announced a partnership with Awabakal, an Aboriginal, community-controlled health service that will help provide pathways for Indigenous athletes to reach their goals at the club. The former Knights, Panthers and Eels centre wants the Tigers to become the preferred destination for all elite Indigenous players.
“Souths have done a really good job, they have always been the team that a lot of Indigenous people follow,” he said.
“I’m on the Wests Tigers team now, so I want all the best Indigenous players playing for Wests Tigers.
“It’s something I always wanted to do, give back to the game that gave me so much.
“I got to represent my club, my country, my state and the Indigenous All Stars – I ticked off a lot of boxes. If it wasn’t for rugby league, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I’m grateful for what the sport has done for me and with the knowledge I’ve got, getting to work with the best players and coaches in the world. It’s time for me to give back.
“It’s perfect timing and Madge [Maguire] has been awesome.
“Madge says the Wests Tigers are a sleeping giant, that he expects more from the club and where he wants it to be.
“I feel like I’ve come at the right time. I’ve been around winners and Madge is a winner. He’s won a grand final, he’s the Kiwi coach and I feel like I’m coming into a great club, a powerhouse club.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.