The last coach jumped off the bus early but Wests Tigers want their current coach to go the long haul.
Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has revealed his plan to extend the contract of coach Michael Maguire until the end of 2024 with discussions to begin soon.
“I see Michael Maguire as a long-term proposition at this club, absolutely,” Hagipantelis said.
“There are no concerns that would prevent us looking at signing on Michael for an extension. And my assumption is that he would feel the same. He knows there is a job here at Wests Tigers he wants to get it done.
“From my personal perspective, I have no issue whatsoever about Michael Maguire remaining long-term coach at Wests Tigers. A two or three year contract (extension) is usually the sort of period most people look at in terms of coaching.
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Maguire took the Tigers to the brink of the finals last year. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
“Stability with your senior coach is absolutely critically important to the success of any NRL club and Michael brings that stability and he has an enormous presence in the club.”
Maguire, 46, still has two years remaining on his current deal but Hagipantelis wants the coach nailed down for a further three years. It would make Maguire the longest-serving coach at Wests Tigers since Tim Sheens.
Not many other coaches at Wests Tigers hung around long. In an eight-year period since 2012, Wests Tigers had six coaches – Maguire, Sheens, Mick Potter, Jason Taylor, Andrew Webster and Ivan Cleary.
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Maguire arrived at the club just last year but is expected to remain for at least the next five years. Potter (48 games), Taylor (51) and Cleary (43) were short-term.
Cleary wanted Wests Tigers players to ‘jump on the bus’ with him before bailing out mid-contract to coach Penrith.
Maguire has coached Wests Tigers in 24 games but that would jump to around 150 matches by re-signing until after 2024 .Sheens coached the club in 249 games between 2003 and 2012, famously winning the 2005 grand final.
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Can Maguire end the Tigers finals drought? Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
An extension for Maguire – who won a premiership at South Sydney in 2014 - would finally give the club long-term coaching security.
No contract details have yet been drawn up but Hagipantelis wants Maguire to stay and believes the coach would be keen to re-sign.
“’Madge’ brings out the best in these boys and the roster and I think he feels there is a job to be done here and we know he is the man to do that job. I would anticipate sometime this year we would entertain discussions with Michael about his long-term future,” Hagipantelis said.
“Those discussions have not occurred yet but they will at the appropriate time. I speak to Michael quite a bit and I know he is extraordinarily happy where he is and what he is doing.
“From a club perspective, we’re very happy with Michael and at the appropriate time we will sit with him and discuss his future.”
Maguire instilled respect back into Wests Tigers last year but the club, despite significant improvements, still failed to reach the finals.
The Tigers have gone heavy on the recruits for 2020. Picture by Darren Leigh Roberts.
Late off-season recruits Joey Leilua and Adam Doueihi have Wests Tigers bullish about their chances in 2020, the club having already signed Billy Walters, Luciano Leilua and Zane Musgrove.
“He is a premiership-winning coach, of course, and his focus and intensity is second level. The boys have responded incredibly well to what he has imposed as far as the coaching regimen is concerned,” Hagipantelis said.
“’Madge’ is incredibly passionate about the playing group and incredibly committed to the playing group.”
Wests Tigers play a trial against New Zealand Warriors this Sunday in Rotorua. Maguire has selected a strong squad for the match which includes Luke Brooks, Benji Marshall, Joey Leilua and Moses Mbye.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the pre-season and I’ve seen the boys grow throughout that time but it’s now about getting out on the park and delivering a strong performance before we start the season,” Maguire said.
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