The writing is on the wall for Michael Maguire to part ways with the struggling Wests Tigers as the club stares down the barrel of an 0-7 start to the season.
The club have lost their first three games of 2022 and now face the Titans, Sharks, Eels and Rabbitohs in the next month, which are all unlikely to be wins given their current form.
Speaking on Triple MGorden Tallis, James Hooper and Brent Read dissected the club’s woes believe it is in the best interests of both Maguire and the Tigers to go their separate ways after four seasons together.
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“There’s something not quite right there and it would probably be better for him long-term in the rugby league world to walk away from the Tigers,” Tallis said on Triple M.
“I think he has been there for four years. Sometimes coaches and players just need a new start and I think with the Wests Tigers they are just not responding are they?
“If you’re honest and we can tap dance around it, but he has had four years there. Madge is a really good coach and has won premierships, but sometimes you can get a dressing room and for some reason it just doesn’t gel and this dressing room is not gelling at the moment. ”
Hooper pointed out that the blame for the Tigers’ woes, which has them on track to miss the finals for the 11th straight season and also has them as the favorites for the wooden spoon, can no longer be placed at the feet of former coach Ivan Cleary.
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“We know he can coach and has won premierships, but my view is he is not the right coach for the Wests Tigers at the moment,” Hooper said.
“From an outside point of view it just looks like they need a circuit breaker.
“They have been going around in circles now. This is Madge’s fourth season. They have finished progressively worse. They were ninth the first year, 11th the second and 13th last year.
“Initially, I was more than happy to bide my time because I know Madge knows what success looks like and the foundations that need to be built to get there.
‘But the hangover from when Ivan Cleary was there when he signed four players to big money on long-term deals and it caused the club quite a bit of trouble for a number of years, that is gone now.
“Paul Crawley pointed out in The Daily Telegraph, that every single player in that roster now Madge has either signed and brought them into the club or he has re-signed them to the club during his tenure.
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“If Madge went to the Melbourne Storm they would have success. If you give Madge a roster. When he came to Souths, there was a nucleus of superstar players either established or on the verge of being established.
“The Wests Tigers are nowhere near that. Who are the Tigers best five players? ”
Ryan Girdler posed the question as to why people are so surprised the Tigers are struggling, given what they have dished up in recent seasons.
“Is anyone really surprised after what we have seen over the last couple of years?” Girdler said.
“Round 1 they put in a decent performance against the Melbourne Storm so we thought OK, they can play like that and we saw glimpses of that last year.
“But over the last couple of years consistently we can say that the Tigers every week, we know what sort of performance we are going to get.
“So is anyone in real shock that the Tigers are 0-3 and have got a tough run over the next couple of weeks.
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“The Warriors will not play worse and win another game this year.
“Brown after the game was almost despondent that the Warriors got the two points and he didn’t know how.
“It was a poor quality game and the Tigers had every opportunity just to get the job done and couldn’t find a way.”
Read doesn’t think anyone is surprised by the Tigers’ struggles and revealed a tense run-in with Maguire that proves the pressure is at an all-time high for players and coach at the club.
“No, I don’t think so,” Read replied to Girdler’s question.
“I think this is what a lot of people expected that they would struggle and a lot of people tipped them for the wooden spoon.
“No, I don’t think anyone is shocked by it other than Tigers fans, who are probably more disappointed than surprised by it.
“That’s 0-3 for the Tigers and the next four games are really difficult.
“Three of them are away from home against good teams that are going well.
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“I saw Madge before the kick-off and he wasn’t overly happy with that. He had a bit of a go at me. We had a pretty good relationship over the years. I’m not sure how it is now.
“He said that puts a lot of pressure on people saying things like that if you go 0-7. He said it in a certain way and probably used different terms to that.
“He wasn’t overly happy and he was even angrier after the game.”
Former Tigers captain Aaron Woods, who the club passed on signing last year, believes the players are playing scared and like they don’t want to make mistakes.
“It does hurt, I know I’m not there anymore and I did get out of their four or five years ago, but I watch them play every week and people always ask me, you must be happy they’re going poor,” Woods said. .
“No, I have got mates at that club … I want to see them win and see them happy, it is just hard to watch. It is just frustrating.
“They don’t know how to win … they were going up against twelve players with 10 minutes to go … they had about nine plays in the 10-meter zone of the Warriors and I think three or four of them they had dummy half scoots. And the other four or five were just simple hit-ups.
“They look like a side that are just a little bit lost. They lost direction.
“I was watching Luke Brooks and he had been under the pump lately and he was calling for the ball, but he just wasn’t getting it.
“He is your main ball distributor. He is your main man. You need him to get more ball, especially in the 10 meter zone.
“They had nine shots and they look like they were just doing hit-ups and set-up play after set-up play. They just don’t ask questions.
“I don’t know if they are scared of playing footy or they are scared of losing. They just look like they are not happy there at the moment.
“They had their opportunities, but they just couldn’t ice it.
“Their confidence just looks shot at the moment. It looks like they have fear of playing footy. ”
Woods also took issue with the leadership of the Tigers after they appointed no less than five captains for the season.
“The thing that is hard is they have five captains, so who do you look too?” Woods said.
“I know you have a leadership group but why name five captains?
“When you are on the field, who do you look to make the calls?
“When I was there we were a really good attacking side. What’s wrong with going and winning a game 20-18?
“Why can’t you outscore teams? Because people want to be known as good defensive sides? You have got to play to your strengths. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t see why they don’t do that.
“They have got to read what is in front of them. They have got to throw the ball around.
“They just look like no one wants to stuff up in the team. They are just one out. ”