Give them a saucer of milk: Madge’s tough love is exactly what the flimsy Tigers need
September 1, 2020 5:23pm
Source: FOX SPORTS
Michael Maguire is going nowhere as coach of the Wests Tigers with club management giving the premiership-winner the green light to fix a decade of underachievement. Maguire might only be signed until the end of 2021 but Tigers powerbrokers plan to sit down in the coming months to discuss extending his tenure with a view to ending the NRL’s longest finals drought.
Maguire is exactly what the Wests Tigers need to fix a playing roster too accustomed to accepting mediocrity.
Rival NRL clubs have called out the Tigers for having a soft underbelly for years now.
Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis told Fox Sports Maguire was part of the solution at the club, not part of the problem.
“The club is absolutely committed to Michael Maguire as the coach,” Hagipantelis said.
“Madge shares our visions in moving forward to build a very competitive roster and for the purpose of achieving premiership success which we’ve been denied now for far too long.
“The fact of the matter is the club is absolutely committed to Madge as the coach of the Wests Tigers.”
The Maguire development comes after Fox Sports revealed on NRL360 Monday night a Tigers review of Saturday night’s loss to Penrith turned into an honesty session between the players and the coach.
The players’ biggest beef was Maguire’s penchant for continually chopping and changing the Tigers 17 in the search for perfection.
The players were honest and the coach was honest in the Monday meeting.
The reality is Maguire’s hard line approach is exactly what the Tigers playing roster is in need of.
Club management will back the premiership-winning coach even if it means some short-term pain over the next 12 months to fix the roster.
As much as halfback Luke Brooks has worn the brunt of criticism over the last 72 hours there is a view with the right forward pack the playmaker can take the Tigers to the finals.
The front row forward the Tigers are desperate to sign for next season is Panthers captain James Tamou.
But the problem is the club has limited funds available without shifting some of its current roster.
Russell Packer and Josh Reynolds have been shopped all season but it’s a major challenge finding interest for the money they’re on.
The Tigers have lost five of their past six matches to bomb out of finals contention for the ninth straight season.
Is it any wonder Maguire is repeatedly changing the team?
His latest changes include shifting Moses Mbye back to playing fullback, switching Adam Doueihi to left centre, putting Luke Brooks back in the no. 7 jumper and making Benji Marshall the five-eighth.
The club has confirmed Marshall will finish up at the Wests Tigers at the end of the season in what will be his 14th year at the club.
Marshall famously threw the flick pass for Pat Richards in the 2005 grand final in the Wests Tigers maiden premiership as a joint venture club.
As brutal a call as it is it’s the right call for the Wests Tigers.
The club already has enormous money invested in Luke Brooks and Josh Reynolds and then has emerging halves Billy Walters and Jock Madden also on the books.
You can’t have five halves in a 28-man roster.
Marshall is a Wests Tigers legend who will always be celebrated as the playmaker who led the charge to the 2005 grand final.
But the club has made the right call.