NRL news, Brad Fittler defends Michael Maguire as pressure mounts on Tigers powerbrokers
Brad Fittler has come to coach Michael Maguire’s defense, insisting his players must also bear responsibility for the Wests Tigers’ failures in 2021 as noise continues to grow around his tenure at Concord.
The Tigers’ sorry final chapter of the year ended the regular season on Sunday night as Maguire and his men coughed seven unanswered attempts to fall into a 38-0 bloodbath against the Canterbury Wooden Spoons.
It was a dark note to wrap up the year and one that gives Tigers fans little faith that next season will be any different.
And why would he do it?
Despite his applause, Maguire was unable to remedy any of the lingering issues that plagued the joint venture club for the past decade in his three years at Concord.
A season review is now underway after the club again missed the football final, finishing 13th with just eight wins to their name.
As part of that review, a decision is expected to be made on Maguire’s tenure at the club, which will undoubtedly be the biggest appeal by the Tigers powerbrokers this offseason.
But despite the first whispers of a mutiny, Fittler sent the Tigers a quick reality check.
Namely, if it’s not ‘Madge’, then who?
“A lot of people have talked about Michael Maguire, but I haven’t heard of anyone else to take his place,” Fittler told Wide World of Sports. The last whistle.
“So there’s no point in getting rid of anyone unless you find someone who can do a better job.
“There is obviously going to be a review that will continue. The only thing that is not in his favor is that there has been very little improvement to the point where, in their last game, they are beaten by Canterbury – the team that comes in last. That pretty much says deflation has turned into abandonment, which isn’t going to help their cause either.
“But unless you have someone who can do a better job, you’re going to go back further.”
While acknowledging Maguire’s shortcomings in the club’s turnaround, Fittler saw a growing sense of player dissent as arguably the biggest issue for the Tigers.
“The problem is, it seems like the players are in control,” Fittler said.
NRL Highlights: Bulldogs beat Tigers in Final Game – Round 25
“They’re not really ready and no one is really talking about their sacking. It becomes a drama as it becomes a lot easier to move a coach and then point out, ‘You know which players? Now we’ve got rid of the coach and it’s up to you. ” Your head is now on the chopping block.
“That’s normally what happens. The players take over, they stop trying, someone gets fired and it kind of starts all over again.
“Sometimes when you’re not wholeheartedly about everything about the club and the squad, then that comes out. And that’s been discovered tonight. They give up.
“It was painful today, really painful. It doesn’t look like the team has improved throughout the year.”
Maguire still has two years to sign his contract with the Tigers.
For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!