‘Questions must be answered’: Madge’s job on the line after chairman’s brutal admission

The Wests Tigers’ 38-0 loss to the last-placed Bulldogs was a fitting way to end a hugely disappointing 2021 campaign — and it’s left the future of coach Michael Maguire under an even bigger cloud than before.

The Tigers are about to commence a post-season review led by CEO Justin Pascoe and head of football Adam Hartigan and Sunday’s humiliating loss certainly doesn’t put Maguire in good stead.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the Tigers received several expressions of interest for Maguire’s job but the club won’t entertain any other options until a call is made on the coach.

The Tigers’ next board meeting is scheduled for the end of September, however according to the Herald a decision on Maguire is expected to be made before then.

Maguire signed a new deal back in December to remain at the Tigers until the end of 2023. But as we all know, a contract means next to nothing in the modern NRL world.

Maguire has been on shaky ground ever since the opening rounds of the season. The club was even forced to release a statement following a 40-6 loss to Manly on Anzac Day, “vehemently” denying reports of “crisis meetings.”

And the noise surrounding Maguire’s job hasn’t died down since. A 40-12 loss to the Eels, followed by a 66-16 shellacking from the Storm, topped off with a 38-22 loss to the Rabbitohs didn’t help his case.

Wests Tigers chair Lee Hagipantelis told the Herald over the weekend that “difficult questions need to be asked, but more importantly they must be answered.”

Maguire was in the firing line of difficult questions following Sunday’s loss. The Bulldogs — who up until that game had been outscored this season by Manly’s Reuben Garrick — etched themselves into the history books with the biggest win in the final round by a last-placed team in premiership history.

It’s an odd stat, but it paints a picture of just how low the Tigers sunk.

Maguire insisted he is the man to lead the Tigers out of this rut.

“Ah yep,” he said when asked if he’s the man for the job.

“I know exactly where the team is going and the organisation knows where the team is going. We’ve got to make sure we’re continually disciplined about what we’re trying to build here.

“Changing teams and changing pathways of clubs takes a little bit of time. It doesn’t mean you can’t get better performances on the park — I’ll acknowledge that — but it’s about continually sticking to the path of where we’re going with this group.

“We’ve gone to a number of youth now, then you add in a number of those (senior) players, the game is a lot different.”

The Tigers have missed out on finals footy for the 10th season in a row. Maguire said “we’re in the process of changing that,” while remaining upbeat about developing the next generation of players.

“No doubt people will continue to refer to the 10 years but it’s about the future and where we’re going,” he said.

“That’s one thing I’ve spoken about quite a bit, about the transformation that we’re doing at the club.

“You saw all the youth out there, I think we had 12 blokes sitting on the sidelines, so we will be a different team next year. But we have got now is we’ve got a lot of experience with these younger guys moving forward and understanding what it takes to play first grade.

“When you look at all those young boys and then bringing back in about 10 of players sitting on the sideline, we’ve got the makings of what it takes to move forward in the competition and grow the team... We know exactly where we’re going.”

As Maguire referenced, several key players were out through injury on Sunday. Skipper James Tamou, Adam Doueihi, Moses Mbye, James Roberts and Luke Garner were all forced to watch on from the sidelines but there’s no shying away from the fact they went down to a team that had only won two games this season.

Fox League sideline commentator Corey Parker labelled the Tigers’ performance “dreadful”, while Greg Alexander questioned what is next for the struggling team.

“My God what does (Maguire) say? What does he say to this team and where do they go from here? Where do they go in the off-season?” he said.

Braith Anasta suggested it’ll be Maguire that cops the brunt of the horror loss.

“Huge pressure on their team, huge pressure on Michael Maguire... under the pump before this game, speculation about his job and where to next? This can’t help that situation,” he said.


Story first published on Fox Sports

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