Eye of the Tiger: Madge’s inspiring pre-game speech
Author - Troy Whittaker
Timestamp - Fri 20 Mar 2020, 06:01 PM
Wests Tigers recruit Luciano Leilua had never experienced a passionate pre-game speech like the one coach Michael Maguire unleashed before the season-opening victory over the Dragons.
“Madge is crazy. He looked like he was going to cry!” the second-rower said. “He was fired up. He was really, really good. I loved it, eh.”
The expletive-laden address shocked Leilua, who had only been coached in the NRL by St George Illawarra’s Paul McGregor.
“Madge was a bit different. It got me fired up. Maybe you can say that got us the win,” Leilua said. “It got me pumped up because I was right next to him. I was like, ‘Let’s go’.”
Leilua’s brother Joey – who also arrived at Concord over the off-season – said Maguire’s “emotional” performance was right “up there” with that of his former Raiders mentor Ricky Stuart.
The Tigers will be looking for Maguire to spark them into action prior to Sunday’s clash with the Knights at Leichhardt Oval given there won’t be a crowd due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“He does have some good pre-game speeches and he does get pretty intense before the game,” centre Adam Doueihi said.
"It’s what we needed, although we didn’t start the best – it was a pretty chaotic start for us on Sunday [against the Dragons].
"One thing we’ve spoken about is starting better this weekend against Newcastle who were great performers against the Warriors.
“Another pre-game speech to try and fire us up the first 20 [minutes] will be handy.”
Doueihi, who rejoined his junior club in January after leaving Souths, is comfortable at left centre as co-captain Moses Mbye rehabs a knee issue but still wants to play fullback long-term.
Corey Thompson wore the No.1 jersey last week, but with Mbye possibly back in round three, Maguire faces a tough selection call.
“Thommo’s done an amazing job last year and this pre-season, so while Moses is injured now I’ll fill in at centre,” Doueihi said.
“Wherever Madge sees me helping out the team, I’m happy to put my hand up.”
Meanwhile, Luciano Leilua is determined to stay on the park for the entirety each round having set that benchmark in his first proper appearance in Tigers colours.
Leilua, who said he dropped five kilograms over the summer, recorded 127 metres, 31 tackles and a decisive try against his former team in Wollongong.
“My expectation is to play the whole 80 minutes. Make sure I’m in the game, involved, I’m not slacking off,” Leilua said.
“I was happy with my performance but that was last week. Now we move onto the next one.”