Paul Kent believes Michael Maguire is on shaky ground as the Tigers conduct a mid-season review after comments from club Chairman Lee Hagipantelis.
The Tigers chairman refused to guarantee Maguire’s future on SEN radio and reading between the lines Kent believes the coach is on borrowed time.
“Tim Sheens has been engaged by the club as the director of football, so his responsibility is to oversee all operations within the football department,” Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis said on SEN radio.
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“So he has found an opportune time in the middle of the year during this two week hiatus to do a little health check and have a look where we are sitting and why are we three from 12 and are we happy about that? No we are not. What do we need to improve? What changes may or may not need to be made?
“There is no emergency board meetings. There is no panicked phone calls. There is no late night zoom hook-ups.
“As of today May 31, 2022, Michael Maguire is the contracted head coach for the Wests Tigers and there is nothing before me to indicate that is going to change.
“But will I guarantee anyone’s employment whether it is the head coach or the head of commercial or the CEO’s role? No I will not give that guarantee and I’ve said that before because the issuing of guarantees has certain legal ramifications.
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“We will leave it to the great man to come back to us. The board puts a lot of stock in Tim Sheens and his recommendations, so we will see what he comes back with. ”
Kent believes Hagipantelis has left the door ajar to sack Maguire at the conclusion of the mid-season review.
“I’d be concerned if I was Michael Maguire hearing that,” Kent said on NRL 360.
“A couple of things, just the language.
“Lee Hagipantelis is an intelligent man. He is a lawyer and he has done very well in his business.
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“But just things like, there is nothing before me that indicates that is going to change. He named the date. As of today there is nothing before me that indicates that is going to change.
“Well what will change is this review that is currently being held, once it is completed something will then be put before him, which will then indicate and certainly allow him to change his position.
“The other thing that concerns me about this is for all this, it is all normal, normal stuff from the Wests Tigers, they are the only club taking a mid-season review.
“So this, there is nothing to see here this is just normal football business so don’t worry about it. Well why aren’t 15 other clubs doing it? ”
However, Kent took aim at the Tigers for their shambolic review last season, which has so far revealed nothing about what needs to be fixed at the club.
“Thirdly they did a review over the off-season and nothing has come out of it,” Kent said.
“They haven’t given one finding out of the review. There has not been one person made accountable.
“Not one explanation made to fans about what was missing or wrong or what needed to be done or what needed to be changed out of that review.
“And nothing has changed out of this review, so how do you have any hope with what is going to come out of this review?”
However, Paul Crawley noted that Sheens will have a much more hands on role with this review than the 2021 version.
“What has changed is Tim Sheens will do this review,” Crawley said.
“He was spoken to about the last review, but he has now had six months to get his feet under the desk and get the lay of the land.
“Tim Sheens has been around the game for a long time. He is a proven winner. There are not many more blocks in rugby league who know more about the game.
“In fairness to the Tigers they are in a situation where they are sitting 15th on the ladder. It is Michael Maguire’s fourth season at the club. There are no clear signs of improvement.
“The roster has completely changed from when Ivan Cleary left until now. Every single player has been re-signed and recommitted under this new coach and it ain’t working. It is just not working.
“So the club has to do something. You can’t sit on your hands forever and just accept this is our lot in life. ”
However, Kent noted that Sheens has been one of Maguire’s staunchest supporters.
“Sheens has the whole way through reinforced his support of Michael Maguire as a coach,” Kent said.
Dave Riccio believes the Tigers are trying to move so they don’t lose out on their next coach to the Bulldogs.
“The Tigers also have one eye over the back fence at the Bulldogs and if you don’t jump first you are going to be caught short,” Riccio said.
“That’s what the Tigers have got in the back of their mind here in relation to Cameron Ciraldo.
“I believe that Cameron Ciraldo is the lead target for the Wests Tigers and that being a development club, Ciraldo would have an interest if approached by the Tigers to take up that role.”
Riccio also has no doubt Maguire is on his way out at the Tigers.
“Look at the Chariman’s comments, the writing is on the wall,” Riccio said.
“I can’t recall such open comments from a Chairman at club land like that about a mid-season review.”