A win for Tigers fans: Inside Michael Maguire's amazing NRL escape

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Michael Maguire (pictured) during a training session.
Michael Maguire (pictured) has miraculously held onto his job as the head coach of the Tigers. (Getty Images)

September 21, 2021, might go down as the day the rot stopped at the Wests Tigers.

Against all predictions – and with the media drums beating furiously – the Tigers' board decided NOT to sack Michael Maguire, putting an end to the incessant blood-letting at Concord.

Madge will stay on for at least another year in an indication the Tigers are prepared to wear more tough love in a bid to get to where they want to be.

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It looked an impossible scenario just a day before.

As the Tigers bumbled their way through more indecision over Maguire's future, highlighted by the hastily scrapped board meeting on Monday afternoon, the narrative changed several times.

The coach was a dead man walking around lunchtime Monday until a call was put through to the governor granting him a stay of execution.

It was then said to be CEO Justin Pascoe and Head of Football Adam Hartigan ordering their last meal as fans vented their fury at the club's hierarchy.

By late Tuesday morning, there was a suggestion Maguire, Pascoe and Hartigan all might survive and continue into 2022 as if the last few weeks didn't happen.

It seemed the least logical outcome. Surely at least one head had to roll after such a disastrous season?

Apparently not.

In a move rarely seen at football clubs in the modern age, the Tigers blocked the outside noise and stuck with the status quo for better or worse.

The news brought on another unexpected modern-day phenomena – almost universal praise from the most beat-up fan base in the NRL.

Tigers fans' relief after Michael Maguire circus

There is relief a decision has been made and that there is now some certainty – if not complete confidence – around the coach.

Regardless of whether you're in the pro or anti-Madge camp, furthering dithering over his future would have caused irreparable damage.

Just ask Phil Gould, who knows a thing or two about flicking coaches.

"If you've decided it’s the coach who’s the problem and not part of the solution, then you have to have to pull the Band-Aid off," Gould told 100% Footy.

"What you can’t have is it festering on in the media and allowing the media to dictate."

 A Tigers supporter is seen during the round 23 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks at Browne Park, on August 21, 2021, in Rockhampton, Australia.
A Tigers supporter is seen during the round 23 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks at Browne Park, on August 21, 2021, in Rockhampton, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Band-Aid remains on – for now.

Maguire, in the majority of the board's view, is not the problem.

Structural changes to the football department will be made and some of Maguire's powers reduced as coaching director Tim Sheens takes a more hands-on role.

Maguire will not be subject to an official win ratio to ensure he keeps his job in 2022, but it's clear he needs a good start otherwise speculation over his future will return.

There are still members on the Tigers board convinced Madge was not the future.

They almost got their way.

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