‘‘Cannot escape criticism’: Cleary left a $2.4m Tigers mess … and Maguire shouldn’t pay the price
April 27, 2021 9:40am
by STAFF WRITERS Source: FOX SPORTS
Michael Maguire should not be held accountable for the mistakes made by his predecessor Ivan Cleary, who “cannot escape criticism” for the Wests Tigers’ current struggles.
That’s the view of the Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield amid talk Maguire is fighting to save his job just seven games into the season.
The Tigers and their coach are under heavy pressure with just one win to their name in 2021, and reports emerged after Sunday’s dismal loss to Manly suggesting Maguire’s future was being discussed at board level.
Rothfield said on NRL 360 on Monday night it was unfair to solely point the finger at premiership-winning coach Maguire for the club’s struggles, claiming it was also suffering because of a lack of long-term strategic planning.
He also said Maguire had inherited the baggage left by Cleary, who sensationally walked out on the Tigers in 2018 to re-join Penrith. While Cleary is thriving at the foot of the mountains, Rothfield pointed to the legacy left by Cleary’s big-money Tigers signings including Josh Reynolds, Moses Mbye and Russell Packer — a trio reported to be taking up about $2.4 million in the salary cap.
“Do you blame Madge? Do you blame Justin Pascoe, the chief executive, and the fact there’s been no proper strategic plan for a long period of time? That they haven’t developed out at Campbelltown?,” Rothfield said.
“We’ve seen champions come out of that area, (James) Tedesco, (Israel) Folau, Jarryd Hayne. They are building a high performance centre in Concord. Why aren’t they doing what Penrith did and setting up elite junior pathways in a growth area like Campbelltown?
“The other person who cannot escape criticism is Ivan Cleary, for the manner in which he left this club.
“I looked at a record of a few players he signed; Josh Reynolds, 800k a year, — 22 games in three years. Moses Mbye, averaging 12 games a year. Russell Packer in four years, 33 games of football. Is that Madge’s fault? Should Madge get sacked because of previous recruitment?”
NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent agreed the Tigers woes were not Maguire’s fault.
“And I think that’s what’s bought him some leeway here,” Kent said.
“My understanding is he’s not going to get sacked at the moment but this is how it begins and I think Michael Maguire is more than aware of that. Once you starting hearing about the crisis meetings …
“… Madge has got to go back to his time at South Sydney when the rumours started and the first time coaches get sacked, they don’t want to believe it. It’s just external talk, don’t worry about it.
“But this is where it begins and he’s got to get on top of this very quickly and the club has got to get on top of this very quickly.,
“He has got some time but he doesn’t have a lot of time.”