Wests Tigers, Michael Maguire, Luke Brooks, recruitment, retention, contracts, rebuild, information, updates

Three years in the past, Michael Maguire arrived at Harmony Oval for his first day as head coach of the Wests Tigers with a daring imaginative and prescient.

“It’s a membership we need to construct,” Maguire stated earlier than including: “I need to construct it quick”.

Within the Tigers Maguire noticed potential – calling the joint-venture a “sleeping big” and one which was ready to be remodeled into an NRL powerhouse.

Quick-forward to Sunday afternoon and Maguire was left to reply for an additional failed finals bid, even when he didn’t need to admit the season was over.

Watch ‘Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger City’ an unique Fox League behind-the-scenes manufacturing on demand on Kayo > Click here to watch

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With every part on the road, the Tigers withered in a 50-20 defeat and uncovered simply how unrealistic the “quick” makeover Maguire marketed was.

Now he’s dedicated to a long-term imaginative and prescient that he even admitted may “kill” him off as Tigers coach.

“I do know this strategy may kill me as a coach,” Maguire informed Information Corp in July.

“However I need to set the membership up in a manner that the Tigers can succeed long run, moderately than Band-Help options and fast fixes.”

It’s precisely what the Broncos, Bulldogs and Cowboys are doing proper now they usually occupy the underside spots on the ladder consequently.

For all three golf equipment although there may be hope for the fanbase, a imaginative and prescient to purchase into that justifies present outcomes.

They’ve additionally had 18 finals appearances between them within the final decade whereas the Tigers, as is well-publicised, have none.

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The Tigers slumped to a 50-20 defeat on Saturday. (Picture by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Photos)Supply: Getty Photos

It has left the joint-venture in a troublesome place, desperately chasing a top-eight spot that will solely be getting additional away the extra it focuses on it.

Questions have been requested of Maguire’s future however the actual query is whether or not axing him will solely ship the membership into a fair longer rebuild.


As a lot as Maguire refused to consider the finals dream was over, a -162 factors differential means the Tigers will likely be counting on a miracle to nonetheless be enjoying in September.

As an alternative, the main focus within the subsequent two weeks needs to be on constructing in direction of 2022.

The Australian’s Brent Learn informed Triple M on Monday that might embody determining whether or not Luke Brooks and Maguire will keep put.

“I simply don’t see how he and Madge can each be there subsequent 12 months,” he stated.

“It simply doesn’t appear to be clicking and one thing has to offer. The membership must make some adjustments.”

Questions must be requested of the board, who needs to be held equally if no more accountable for its position too.

When it comes to what Maguire can use the following two weeks to show, accidents and suspension have restricted the quantity of gamers he has to work with.

The subsequent fortnight additionally presents an opportunity for Zac Cini, Tom Amone, Michael Chee-Kam and Tom Mikaele to push for contract extensions past this 12 months.

Russell Packer, Joey Leilua and James Roberts are all searching for a brand new deal however extremely unlikely to get one.

Within the Panthers and Bulldogs, the Tigers end the season with two video games that might not be extra completely different from one another.

A loss to Penrith would depart them with completely nothing tangible to play for towards the Bulldogs.

It’s a recreation they are going to be anticipated to win however one that might simply as simply finish in defeat and solely pose extra questions of the enjoying group’s mentality heading into the low season.

The place to subsequent for the Tigers? (Picture by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Photos)Supply: Getty Photos


The Tigers have already got sufficient questions heading into the low season, the largest of which is what to do with halfback Brooks.

Maguire labored wonders with premiership-winning halves Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds throughout his time at South Sydney.

Naturally, his hope was that by higher understanding Brooks he too may get essentially the most out of the 2018 Dally M Halfback of the Yr.

In that season although Brooks was primarily enjoying alongside Benji Marshall within the halves, who may shoulder extra of the duty to organise and steer the group round.

It eased the stress on Brooks however the challenge for him now could be that Adam Doueihi isn’t that very same foil, with a operating recreation his best energy.

After 9 years, it could find yourself being in each the Tigers and Brooks’ greatest pursuits to maneuver on.

The one drawback with that strategy is that the membership must first know whether or not Jackson Hastings is the halfback they want or higher suited at lock ahead.

In any other case, with the shortage of high quality choices available on the market proper now, they could be higher ready till the tip of subsequent season to search for replacements.

Is Luke Brooks’ time on the Tigers up? (Picture by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Photos)Supply: Getty Photos

The opposite evident challenge is the shortage of real chief that was missing within the capitulation towards Cronulla.

It’s not so simple as going after expertise although, generally it may be higher to construct that have over time in gamers you develop.

Have a look at the Tigers gamers with 100-plus NRL video games – Moses Mbye, David Nofoaluma, Ken Maumalo, Luke Brooks, James Tamou, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts, Joey Leilua and Russell Packer.

Simply two – Nofoaluma and Brooks – made their debuts on the membership whereas loads of these names are underperforming in the intervening time.

Reasonably than getting essentially the most out of their skilled gamers, it’s younger and growing expertise main the best way on the Tigers.

Maguire has a long-term imaginative and prescient for the membership and a part of that needs to be constructing expertise from inside.

These youthful gamers to drive that change can announce themselves within the subsequent fortnight.


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How ought to the Tigers go about constructing expertise? (Picture by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Photos)Supply: Getty Photos


After all, even when the Tigers do go to the promote it stays to be seen whether or not they are going to have the ability to land that high-profile title that continues to elude them.

The Broncos (Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell) and Bulldogs (Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton and Tevita Pangai Jr) have recognized weaknesses of their squads and spent large to deal with it.

Maguire informed Triple M final week the membership has taken a “long-term view” on its recruitment, refusing to blow the wage cap by paying overs.

He did admit that the membership will finally go to the marketplace for a “robust marquee participant” however solely when the time is correct

Michael Maguire and the Tigers will go to the market on the proper time. NRL ImagerySupply: Equipped

It’s a honest level however the Tigers additionally have to get a greater grasp of what precisely they are going to be promoting when that point comes.

“They can not entice large names and they should discovered why,” Fox League’s Michael Ennis stated on Saturday night time.

“They don’t know who they’re. You by no means flip up and have a Wests Tigers facet that has an identification – it adjustments so steadily.”

Maguire appears to have an thought of what that identification may appear to be, constructing round a core group of rising expertise.

Shawn Blore, Daine Laurie, Stefano Utoikamanu, Kelma Tuilagi, Tommy Talau, Tuki Simpkins and Adam Doueihi had been the seven gamers Maguire talked about final week.

That although will take time as will Maguire’s give attention to “youth and younger growth gamers”, with the Covid-19 pandemic presenting an additional problem to that imaginative and prescient.


Previous to the lockdown, the Western Suburbs Magpies sat in second place whereas the Tigers Jersey Flegg facet was undefeated.

The important thing to sustaining a wholesome wage cap is to have a flourishing junior growth program with younger gamers performing above their pay packet and staying for much less.

Whereas a lot has been manufactured from established NRL stars turning the Tigers down, there equally must be an emphasis on figuring out rising expertise to stay away from rival golf equipment.

Israel Ogden and Etuale Junior Lui Toeava are two of these promising prospects.

The pair’s supervisor, Dixon McIver, stated Maguire has personally informed him final week he want to preserve each however a transfer to Queensland may be on the playing cards.

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“Madge’s phrases to me had been: ‘We have now put loads of work into these boys and we want to see that come to fruition’ nevertheless it comes all the way down to them being in the correct place to do this too,” he informed foxsports.com.au.

He stated Maguire “cares so much about grassroots gamers” however the fixed motion of the NRL squad as a result of coronavirus pandemic has not helped him “preserve his fingers on the heart beat”.

Uncertainty surrounding the NSW Cup and junior grades have left McIver exploring the potential of alternatives in Queensland for the duo.

“We’d moderately they be someplace the place they’re on the dance flooring and will be seen extra versus sitting twiddling their thumbs,” he added.

“We will certainly be Queensland as a result of they only appear to have their finger on the heart beat up there.”

Whereas nothing appears to be altering at Harmony, there may be one “ray of sunshine” that alerts a brighter future on the membership.

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The hope for Tigers followers is that the arrival of Tim Sheens and Brett Kimmorley will assist form junior growth in these difficult instances.

Kimmorley coached the membership’s Nationwide Youth Competitors facet in 2015, with Jacob Liddle and Esan Marsters the one ones from that squad to have gone on to make his NRL debut on the Tigers.

Bailey Sironen, Jeremy Marshall-King, Marion Seve and Junior Tatola have discovered alternatives elsewhere.

For Kimmorley, the main focus matches that of Maguire, with a long-term imaginative and prescient centred round a method of teaching constant throughout all grades.

In the meantime, Fox League’s James Hooper described Sheens’ appointment because the “one ray of sunshine” in one other in any other case dismal season.

“To the purpose earlier about falling asleep on the wheel in some junior catchment areas, that’s Tim Sheens’ forte, that’s the place he can actually excel,” he stated on Triple M on Sunday.

“He understands learn how to set that up, learn how to get it buzzing.”

Watch ‘Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger City’ an unique Fox League behind-the-scenes manufacturing on demand on Kayo > Click here to watch

Tim Sheens is a powerful addition for the Tigers.Supply: Equipped

All of which factors in direction of a transparent finish purpose for the Tigers – one which each provides followers hopes and hesitancy to embrace given an absence of constant outcomes previously decade.

As a lot as the following fortnight might appear to be a write-off, will probably be something however.

Maguire is underneath simply as a lot stress because the enjoying group, with some preventing for brand new contracts and others answering the management problem set after the Cronulla defeat.

The Tigers’ efficiency towards a struggling Bulldogs facet would be the most telling of how far-off Maguire’s rebuild is from a completed product.

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