Tigers legend Benny Elias has taken aim at coach Michael Maguire for failing to live up to his word in keeping the old boys involved to restore the club’s culture.
Maguire is now in his fourth year as head coach of the Tigers and early in his tenure he pledged to bring back club legends to help drive the culture of the team.
However, with the club languishing at the bottom of the ladder after two rounds and amid the longest finals drought in the NRL stretching back to 2011, the club’s glory years are further away than ever.
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“Benny you played at the club when it was Balmain and we occasionally get out around the area and one of the things that I think really differs from your team to the team now is back then you were a representative of a community,” Kent said on NRL 360.
“You felt that obligation to be a representative of the community and now I imagine you remember some of the conversations we have had with various people, where they just feel firstly disconnected and secondly they feel the results far more passionately than the players do.”
“They are,” Elias agreed.
“And I don’t know if it is because you talk about the old times and the values and the culture that we had at the time.
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“My best mates still today are the players that I played with and you are probably the same Gordy?”
“Same,” Tallis agreed.
“We knew if we fell over there was someone there to pick us up,” Elias continued.
“You just knew they had your back. Good, bad or indifferent.
“It didn’t matter because we went through some bad times, but through the bad times you had your mates there and you just knew that they had your back.
“You always knew that and that was the greatness of our club.”
Elias recalled how excited he and three other Tigers legends were to go to lunch with Maguire in 2019 with hopes of restoring what made the club so great in the late 1980s and early 90s.
“It worries me a little bit today to see,” Elias said.
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“He said, I want to get the old fellas back in here and really make this club and talk about the culture and the good and bad times.
“And we all said we look forward to this, we look forward to this.
“Well, that was basically the last we heard from him.
“And basically that’s disappointing.”
The Tigers looked good in the first half against Melbourne, but have been poor ever since, including an insipid display in their 26-4 loss to the Knights.
While Elias acknowledged the season is still very young, he wanted to see more commitment and results given what the club pledged in the off-season.
“It’s frustrating,” Elias said.
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“I can speak on behalf of all the Tigers supporters out there. It is very frustrating.
“It is only two games into the competition in fairness. But they haven’t been impressive. They have played two sides that have been understrength.
“We made a big statement early in the off-season that we were going to be ready for this season and unfortunately it is the same old story.
“We finished off last year with a disastrous defeat against the Bulldogs and you are as good as your last game.
“I was thinking 2022 was going to be sensational for the Tigers and if you ever wanted to get the Melbourne Storm that was the time to get them in Round 1 with everything to play for.
“They got touched up last weekend which was disappointing.”
Tallis asked Elias what he would change about the club and he believes it starts with the coach and the front office, while he labeled last year’s internal review a joke.
“You don’t want to ask me that Gordy because it would take me an hour and a half to go through it,” Elias said in a rpely to Tallis’ question about what he would change.
“There is a lot of things I would change.
“The buck stops and finishes at the coach unfortunately. This is his fourth year there. He is now responsible for 95 per cent of the players. Who he wants and who he doesn’t want more importantly.
“We have got some big players on big money who I sometimes shutter to think. It is frightening to see some of those players on that type of money.
“I always think the big sides that go well start in the office. And our office I think there is a bit of frustration there.
“They did a big review last year and they didn’t display it to the public and I thought it was disappointing.”
“There was no accountability,” Kent interjected.
“If you do a review and you keep the findings to yourself there is no accountability there.”
“That’s right. I’m going to do a review of the CEO and the CEO is going to do a review on me. That doesn’t make sense.
“If you are going to do a review you should do an independent review, with people outside your sphere of comfort. That’s where I would start. ”