Maguire to build future fight on long game

·3-min read

Michael Maguire will tell Wests Tigers powerbrokers to keep faith in the long game as the under-pressure coach faces the most important month of his tenure at Concord.

Maguire suffered a blow on Saturday with Moses Mbye ruled out of what would have been his final Tigers game with concussion, making for over 1200 games of experience missing against Canterbury.

It will open the door for off-contract rookie Zac Cini to play fullback, as the Tigers weigh up whether to re-sign him.

But a far bigger decision looms on Maguire, who in contracted until 2023.

The Tigers' end-of-season football department review will this year come after five months of intense pressure on Maguire and a 10th straight season of no finals.

Maguire has been there for three of those years and admitted on Saturday he had grown used to external noise.

But the former premiership-winner at South Sydney will maintain his message that there are positive times ahead, pointing to the seasons of youngsters such as Daine Laurie, Stefano Utoikamanu and Adam Doueihi.

"I came to the club with everyone in the mindset to play the longer game. To make sure that we can build the longevity of what the West Tigers are," Maguire said.

"Sometimes the short term can be something that people focus on.

"We've looked at a little bit more long term to what needs to happen for the organisation."

Maguire will stress that approach must stay, with 15 members of the Tigers squad playing more NRL this season than the rest of their careers combined.

He can also argue that the club's salary cap is finally sorting itself out, with Russell Packer and Moses Mbye's big salaries largely gone next year.

Maguire also confirmed on Saturday that both Joey Leilua and Michael Chee Kam would exit this year, with Jackson Hastings and Englishman Oliver Gildart to join the club.

"Everyone can see the players that we have coming through and then it's the timelines of experience, the cohesion of your team," Maguire said.

"Those things are all meeting at some stage and we've got to make sure that all those things come together at the right time.

"Would we like them now? Of course.

"But to change a club it takes the departments to come together at the right time."

Still, the question will be whether Maguire is the man to take that group forward.

In his three seasons at Concord, Maguire's winning record sits at 38.8 per cent with finishes of ninth, 11th and at best 11th again.

The prospect of someone such as Cameron Ciraldo could be tempting, given the way he has brought through Penrith's junior talent and structured their defence.

"This will be no different to any other review that we do that we need to make sure that we have a good look at all areas of our game to propel us into a better place," Maguire insisted.

"That's obviously moving towards a winning team. We know what it looks like, we know what we need to do."

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