Maguire feels he’s a better coach after gap year
By Adrian Proszenko
1 November 2018 — 3:05pm
Michael Maguire believes he will arrive at Wests Tigers as an even better coach than the one who presided over South Sydney’s drought-breaking premiership triumph.
Maguire will join the Tigers on a three-year, $2.5 million deal once he finishes up his commitments with the touring New Zealand national side. The 44-year-old replaces Penrith-bound Ivan Cleary, marking his return to the NRL after leaving the Rabbitohs in 2017.
Maguire has been busy during his gap year. He has worked with the NRL in a number of roles, including as a consultant to the coaching ranks, oversaw the Kiwis team that beat Australia a fortnight ago and undertaken a number of study tours as part of his professional development.
The former Raiders and Rams utility believes those experiences, coupled with the fresh perspective that comes with being out of the NRL’s head coaching furnace, have ensured he will arrive at Concord a more rounded mentor.
“Yeah, I believe so,” Maguire told Fairfax Media from England. “[I’ve felt] what you do is more than the words you speak, I’m a big advocate of that. I have to show that.
“But working with the New Zealand group, the players, has been a really special time. It’s a great group of people I’m dealing with at the moment, the experiences I’m getting out of working with these boys are a big part of moving forward as well.
“Those experiences you gain is what you try to impart on your players. Then those blokes buy into into it and the success of where you go.
“I feel I’ve got some (Tigers) players there that are very hungry for success. It’s about coming together and driving to where we want to be.”
Maguire knocked back the Manly job and was also interviewed about taking over from Wayne Bennett. However, he believes the Tigers are an ideal fit and a club on the rise.
“I think it’s a huge sleeping giant,” he said. “It’s going to take everyone involved to build what we want, on and off-field supporters, everyone. I know if everyone gets behind that and drives it to where we want, that success is definitely achievable.
“Wests Tigers have had to face adversity over the years, but it’s a club that’s shifted in a big way. The momentum has definitely shifted towards what it will take to be successful in the NRL, to be a high performer.
“Off the field they have got a lot of things in place and it’s a big requirement for success. On the field they have got a strong squad of players, some good experience at the top and some youth coming through.
“They have got an enormous junior nursery around that space that I will enjoy building with people to bring through that home-grown talent.
“It’s a huge club. It’s got a lot of support … I’m a big believer that’s what it’s about, that we get to represent those people. You’re changing people’s lives in doing the jobs we do because of what we do on the park.”
Maguire will encounter several familiar faces at Concord. He has coached Robbie Farah and Chris McQueen at Souths and has relationships with Kiwis Benji Marshall, Russell Packer and Esan Marsters. But before arriving, the former Wigan Warriors coach continues to pick up tips from some of the sharpest brains in world sport. Maguire spent time with Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp this week in the lead up to the second Test against England.
“I had a good, long conversation with Jurgen and he’s a character,” Maguire said. “You walk straight into their organisation and feel there’s an aura about the place. That’s obviously something you want to build in this club and as a coach, that’s for sure.”