'Coached his last game': Damning new fallout in Michael Maguire saga

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Pictured here, Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire speaks at a post-match NRL press conference.
The future of Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire is once again under the microscope after the team's latest defeat. Pic: Getty

Phil Rothfield says the writing is on the wall for Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire, with the veteran league reporter suggesting the 48-year-old's tenure at the NRL club is about to end.

Saturday night's capitulation to South Sydney has left the Tigers at 3-9 heading into the Origin period, a win-loss record from which no club has made the finals since 2006.

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Tigers football boss Tim Sheens has confirmed the club will make use of the looming bye week for a look in the mirror and forward planning, with 14 days until the joint-venture's next match against Manly.

Some of the focus of the extensive mid-season review will inevitably end up on Maguire's future, with the Tigers coach only narrowly surviving an end-of-season review led by former head of football Adam Hartigan last year.

But Sheens stressed the focus would be across the whole club, including player recruitment for next season, injuries, junior retention and long-term negotiations.

"This is the stuff we are talking about, not a witch hunt," Sheens told AAP.

"Of course coaching will be looked at. As in where we are going for the rest of the season, what's our issues with recruitment and injuries.

"Coaching isn't specifically the coach, it's about coaching generally.

"It's about who we are keeping, who we are not.

"We're also talking about ongoing recruitment from the end of next year with Jackson Hastings, Adam Doueihi and Daine Laurie."

However, Rothfield says he wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers cut ties with Maguire, and says Sheens failed to guarantee the coach's position when they spoke.

Seen here, coach Michael Maguire looking on during a Wests Tigers training session.
Coach Michael Maguire looks on during a Wests Tigers training session. Pic: Getty

“He’s under enormous pressure Madge and it was a really, really disappointing second half they were just blown off the football park against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the weekend,” Rothfield said on Big Sports Breakfast.

“You look at their record under Madge they’ve gone ninth his first year, eleventh his second, thirteenth and now they’re running fifteenth on the ladder.

“I got a call out of the blue from Tim Sheens who was speaking on behalf of the club. I kept putting it to Sheensy, he was talking a lot, I kept saying ‘look can you guarantee Madge’s job is safe?’ And he wouldn’t.

“I think the club has reached a stage of no return with Madge and I would not at all be surprised if he’s coached his last game.

“He’s had a couple of handy wins this year, I just don’t think they can tolerate this poor form much longer.

Big decisions looming for struggling Wests Tigers

 

While Sheens has not commented specifically on Maguire's position, there is little doubt the coach - halfway through his fourth season at the club - is under pressure.

If the Tigers were to look elsewhere, there is no obvious solution to their coaching predicament.

Cameron Ciraldo is considered the next coach in line for most clubs, but the onus would be on the Panthers assistant coach to determine if he wants to leave his current role.

Complicating the matter is that the Bulldogs are already in the market for a new coach, while the Warriors and Newcastle also have coaches under pressure.

Regardless, Sheens was insistent his club's bye week meetings had been planned for a month.

"At the end of the day Madge is buying for next year, so we have to sit down and talk about who we keep," Sheens said.

"There are players off contract. (James) Tamou, (Jock) Madden, (Tommy) Talau.

"There are hookers we have to sort out with Api (Koroisau) coming."

It comes after Maguire had insisted on Saturday night he could still take the Tigers to this year's finals, even referencing Sheens' surge to the 2005 title.

"The season is still alive," Maguire said.

"You get a run and you can go back in time at this club where you get all your players back in.

"Doueihi, (Alex) Twal, David Nofoaluma back in. You just have to have a passage of consecutive wins. I know it is in this team."

with AAP

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