Why Maguire is standing by Brooks

Why Maguire is standing by Brooks as long-term Tigers halfback
By Christian Nicolussi
July 30, 2020 — 5.57pm

Michael Maguire has declared Luke Brooks will be the Wests Tigers’ long-term No. 7 despite the star halfback spending a third straight week coming off the bench.

Maguire would not put a time frame on when Brooks will return to his preferred position, and revealed he had worked hard behind the scenes with him on several areas, including game management, one criticism often directed at the nuggety left-footer.

"This is a stage in Brooksy’s career that can make him go to a higher level,’’ Maguire said as the Tigers prepared to start short-priced favourites against the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night.

"Plenty of players have gone through something similar, it’s how they react and the work they do in the background.

"I’m seeing Brooksy do exactly what you need to do through a period like this in your career.

"This year he’s been more consistent with his defence, he had a tough day out against Souths but prior to that he was strong. He just needs to be more consistent around that space.

"And with the ball he just needs to keep developing his game.’’

Brooks was sensationally axed in favour of Billy Walters and Benji Marshall leading up to the blowout win over the Broncos. The pair were retained for last weekend’s gritty Eels loss and will again start Friday’s clash at the SCG. The hallowed Moore Park turf is where Brooks made his debut in 2013 and was immediately - and unfairly - compared to Andrew Johns.

Should the Tigers triumph against the Warriors, it would be hard to imagine Brooks, the club’s two-time Kelly Barnes winner, forcing his way back into the starting side for next week’s clash against Newcastle.

Fans have always loved Brooks for being a junior and the only one to stay put when his good mates James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitch Moses departed in 2017.

Maguire said Walters had been solid and ‘‘he plays a nice direct straight game, and I like how hard he works in the defensive line’’.

It remains to be seen whether Marshall plays on beyond this year.

Maguire said the club pin-up had been brilliant since his own spell on the sidelines, and Marshall himself spoke about how he had never felt so confident about his own game upon his return.

As Brooks wears the No. 16 jersey, joining him on the bench will be Shawn Blore who more than impressed Maguire on debut to keep his spot.

“I’ve chatted with Shawn for some time, he’s a great character and I like his attitude towards what he wants to achieve and how he wants to be seen as a player,” he said.

"He played a strong first game, but you’re always remember by what you do next.

"I just like his confidence to take on the game. He’s a young man who backs his ability.’’

Blore is eligible for New Zealand - something not lost on Maguire - while the coach added he planned to speak with Sonny Bill Williams again about pulling on the New Zealand jersey again, especially now he is back in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters.

In what could be a fairytale farewell for Williams at next year’s World Cup, Maguire said: "I spoke to Sonny some time ago, but it was about him just getting back into rugby league.

"I want that Kiwis jersey to be the pinnacle of rugby league. The guys who have worn it since I’ve been involved have changed the outlook on what the jersey represents.

"Sonny has had some great performances in that jersey and I’m hoping he’d love to do it all again.’’

👏

At last, some sensible text on this forum about Brooks

Madge seems happy with how he’s training. Hopefully he will be back to his best soon

“Fans have always loved Brooks for being a junior and the only one to stay put when his good mates James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitch Moses departed in 2017”

Well he maybe the long term Half back solution but currently Madge sees him as a bench player, personally i have had loyalty to Brooks as he was the only 1/4 that committed to staying. He does need to lift his game management maybe watching from the sidelines is giving him an opportunity to better understand.
He has been OK from the bench but i tend to agree with other forum members we don’t need a halfback on the bench in the bigger games.
He is also signed till 2023 (3 years), my thinking is Madge has started with the forwards and got the basis of a good younger squad, next will be the spine.
Will be interesting to see if Benji plays on for 1 more year.

Shame. I liked Madge 🤣

@Tigerbuck63 said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

Well he maybe the long term Half back solution but currently Madge sees him as a bench player, personally i have had loyalty to Brooks as he was the only 1/4 that committed to staying. He does need to lift his game management maybe watching from the sidelines is giving him an opportunity to better understand.
He has been OK from the bench but i tend to agree with other forum members we don’t need a halfback on the bench in the bigger games.
He is also signed till 2023 (3 years), my thinking is Madge has started with the forwards and got the basis of a good younger squad, next will be the spine.
Will be interesting to see if Benji plays on for 1 more year.

I think Madge is doing whats best for Brooks to step up another level of being a top playmaker,Madge knows what Luke has to do,he is working on his game with him behind the scenes to bring the best out in Luke…Madge is a very good coach and man manager,Luke could not be in better hands to become stronger in his playmaker position…
I have admitted to being a critic of Lukes on many occasions,however in hindsight Luke has had to deal with the internal dramas,coaching changes and squad reshuffling for a number of seasons now…
Madge is honing and assembling a young team and considers Luke a major part of that team,hence I think is why he benched him and helping him to control the managment of the team and his game behind the scenes…
As far as Benji goes, he is a club legend and has been the main face of the WTs for many,many years,if he really does have the loyalty and interest of the club at heart,he will retire after this year and let the younger guys develope as he did when he first came into the fg team…he would definately have plenty of guidance and experience to share with them at training and behind the scenes as well preferably in an assistant coaching role…

@Tiger_Steve said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

At last, some sensible text on this forum about Brooks

Is it though , if he was a prop , or hadn’t had the next "Andrew Johns " comparisons would we had persevered this long

26 at the end of the season and can’t displace a 35 year old whose lost his greatest strength many years ago or a player who is a utility at best and is about the same age and hasn’t proven he is is a consistent NRL player

Where do we finally draw the line with him …I ask that seriously

last edited by happy_tiger

@tigerbalm said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

“Fans have always loved Brooks for being a junior and the only one to stay put when his good mates James Tedesco, Aaron Woods and Mitch Moses departed in 2017”

Love when journos write stuff like this. Proves they do zero research.

It’s pretty clear without anyone from WT outright saying it, the belief in Brooks as a game manager is not quite there. It is very clear that no one doubts his physical tools, he has had that area covered for a couple years now, the question is around some of his mental strength and the ability to remain calm late in the game and steer his team around.
This is why he is coming off the bench for the last twenty, if he can learn how to take the game by the scruff of the neck when he is fresh against tiring players then he can work out how to do it when he has also played a full game.
I don’t even think it is his decision making because he rarely takes the wrong option (almost never throws an intercept for example), it is more his setup work prior, moving the boys around targeting the right spots in the defence before you make your play.
Give him a bit more time, it’s a lot to understand, but once it clicks he won’t lose the ability.

@AdelaideTiger said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

It’s pretty clear without anyone from WT outright saying it, the belief in Brooks as a game manager is not quite there. It is very clear that no one doubts his physical tools, he has had that area covered for a couple years now, the question is around some of his mental strength and the ability to remain calm late in the game and steer his team around.
This is why he is coming off the bench for the last twenty, if he can learn how to take the game by the scruff of the neck when he is fresh against tiring players then he can work out how to do it when he has also played a full game.
I don’t even think it is his decision making because he rarely takes the wrong option (almost never throws an intercept for example), it is more his setup work prior, moving the boys around targeting the right spots in the defence before you make your play.
Give him a bit more time, it’s a lot to understand, but once it clicks he won’t lose the ability.

Agree with this. Walters is seen as the support player for either Brooks or Marshall.
Brooks hasn’t learned yet how to do this ^ when he is playing alongside Marshall for whatever reason that is.
It seems Madge wants him to be the one to displace Marshall and force his hand not to play him.
In the first 60 minutes Brooks will sit on the bench and study Marshall’s game and the way he will organise the play. Then he gets his 20mins audition to close out the game.
No doubt Brooks can play 80mins but he needs to be playing the full 80 like he will now play the last 20.
Last week was a write off with injuries.

last edited by Needaname

@happy_tiger said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

@Tiger_Steve said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

At last, some sensible text on this forum about Brooks

Is it though , if he was a prop , or hadn’t had the next "Andrew Johns " comparisons would we had persevered this long

26 at the end of the season and can’t displace a 35 year old whose lost his greatest strength many years ago or a player who is a utility at best and is about the same age and hasn’t proven he is is a consistent NRL player

Where do we finally draw the line with him …I ask that seriously

This debate continues to populate the forum and I get it.
My opinion is he is an excellent player but not a complete player. Some of the points of view about getting rid of him are, imo, ridiculous. He is a very good half. He has played behind a crap forward pack for years. He has had little strike power outside him. He is better than many in defence, short kicking game, running to the line. His match awareness is below average and needs to improve or be supplemented by a game managing halves partner. But I’d he worth keeping? Absolutely. Is he in our top 13? Absolutely

I still think Brookes is a talented halfback.
Form can go up and down for any player, but talent stays with you.
I agree with the thrust of this article. The partial layoff will do him good and I think he will regain form and be good for us.

@happy_tiger said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

@Tiger_Steve said in Why Maguire is standing by Brooks:

At last, some sensible text on this forum about Brooks

Is it though , if he was a prop , or hadn’t had the next "Andrew Johns " comparisons would we had persevered this long

26 at the end of the season and can’t displace a 35 year old whose lost his greatest strength many years ago or a player who is a utility at best and is about the same age and hasn’t proven he is is a consistent NRL player

Where do we finally draw the line with him …I ask that seriously

He has 3 more years on his contract you can’t draw the line with him.
Brooks held the statistic of the current player with the most NRL caps to not have played finals football at the end of 2019 season.
I am sure as a player he wants to Play finals. Madge has a plan for him to make him better, agree with prior post has him watching Benji’s game as playing half for 60 mins and then testing him in the last 20 of a game.
He actually did ok both times coming off the bench, and played good against the eels, he will be back in the side during the really big games to come.
Like that it also sends a clear message no one is exempt from starting.

Geez I like Madge’s faith in the guy, but I think that Brooks has been around long enough for us all to see he doesn’t really have what it takes to be a top flite halfback. Slightly above average? Yes, he’s had some good games, but he is far from being a consistent, influential halfback. I guess there is some hope he will eventually develop into one, Cleary has taken a couple of years to get to the level he is playing at now, but he is younger and hasn’t been playing first grade as long as Brooks has.

Still I’m not the coach, Madge is, and if he thinks he can develop him then good luck to him. All I know is, that if there is no real change in the way he plays in coming seasons then Madge’s declaration that Brooks will be our long term halfback doesn’t make me feel too happy.

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