Tigers tell Michael Maguire they’re ‘walking on eggshells’ in ‘really heated’ meeting
August 31, 2020 7:51pm
Source: FOX SPORTS
Michael Maguire’s tendency to chop and change his line-ups has his Wests Tigers players ‘walking on eggshells’, he was reportedly told by the playing squad today.
Fox League expert Michael Hooper revealed details of a players meeting in which the squad told Maguire his brutal axe-swinging approach is ‘not working’, with the 11th-place Tigers set to miss finals once again.
Hooper told NRL360: “Apparently there was a really heated team meeting at Concord today where Michael Maguire, the way he likes to do business was being very direct and blunt.
“I think a couple of the players said: ‘Madge, it’s not working. The way we’re doing things is not working.’
“He said: ‘what’s not working, what’s the issue?’
“They all said: ‘We’re walking on eggshells. Everybody’s scared that if you put in one bad performance, you’ll be dropped.’
“We’ve seen so many players axed of the course of the season.
“They ended up having words. Madge has gone around the whole side and they all said: ‘yes, I agree, that’s how I’m feeling’.
“As a result, I don’t know what the Tigers team will look tomorrow (when team lists are announced for the weekend). But I’m predicting – knowing how Madge has done business this year – he’ll probably make some more changes.”
The Tigers appear headed for a major roster rebuild in the off-season, with veteran Benji Marshall all-but-certain to be pushed out of the club.
And Hooper doubled down on his Tuesday claim that halfback Luke Brooks should follow him out the door.
He said: “The big one at the Tigers that is on the chopping block at the moment is Luke Brooks.
“He’s had seven seasons as the primary playmaker at that club. He’s played 145 NRL matches and he holds the record for the most number of games without finals experience.”
Brooks has struggled to create this season, posting 10 total try involvements from 14 games.
In contrast, Nathan Cleary, Shaun Johnson and Benji Marshall have 35, 32 and 23 respectively.
But Brooks is just one of many underwhelming figures at the club this season – and Paul Kent believes it’s symptomatic of a greater issue in the game.
Kent told NRL360: “Clubs aren’t putting enough into their own development. Some clubs I know have a handicap in that area, but they’re not spending enough on player development.
“Who is leading the comp this year? Penrith (who) have spent more money on developing players than any club in the NRL.
“How many of them are local juniors who have come through the grades?”
“(The) Tigers have had trouble for years with their salary cap, they’ve still got trouble. There’s not enough players being properly educated.”
After back to back losses, the Tigers face the Sea Eagles on Saturday.
With one eye firmly on 2021, Maguire could be chopping and changing his team once again.