'Mind-blowing stupidity': Tigers great's savage spray at club

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·Sports Reporter
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The protracted manner in which Wests Tigers eventually confirmed coach Michael Maguire would stay on in 2022 was lashed by Balmain great Garry Jack. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
The protracted manner in which Wests Tigers eventually confirmed coach Michael Maguire would stay on in 2022 was lashed by Balmain great Garry Jack. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Rugby league great Garry Jack has ripped into Wests Tigers, with the Balmain legend decrying the 'mind-blowing stupidity' that has left the club mired at the bottom of the NRL ladder.

After a dismal eight-win season, the club's board was set to meet on Monday to determine the future of head coach Michael Maguire.

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That meeting was abruptly cancelled at the last minute, prompting speculation the Tigers board was still yet to come to any firm conclusion on Maguire's contract.

That speculation resulted in Maguire being confirmed as the club's coach for 2022 on Tuesday afternoon, putting an end to months of speculation.

Under Maguire's three seasons in charge, the Tigers have slipped from ninth, to 11th and 13th in 2021, missing finals for the 10th straight season.

A dismal 38-0 loss to wooden spooners Canterbury in the final round while the pressure was on to keep his job was thought to be the final straw.

However after news of the board meeting being called off broke on Monday evening, Balmain great Jack had seen enough from his former club to question the decision making at the top.

“The board re-signed Michael Maguire halfway through the [2020] season and now they want to sack him... as an old Tigers player, why do they want to sack him?” he asked.

“Obviously they are trying to protect their own backsides because if anyone has to go, it is Justin Pascoe and Adam Hartigan. They’re the two in charge of recruitment and retention.

“You can’t blame the coach when you said halfway through the year: ‘He’s doing a great job you should re-sign him for another two years’. They have to take a lot of responsibility for what has happened.”

Jack said the 'revolving door' of coaches at the club had done the team no favours.

Had he been given his marching orders, Maguire would have been the fifth coach sacked by the club in the last nine years.

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In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Tigers conformed Maguire would stay on board for 2022, as well as announcing a series of reviews into the club.

Club CEO Justin Pascoe said Maguire had helped guide the club through a difficult time in 2020 and 201, given the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we always understood this review and process would take time, it was the responsibility of the football committee to ensure all information was considered to make the right decisions for the club moving forward," he said.

Michael Maguire will coach Wests Tigers in 2022 after the club announced he would stay in the position, despite a disastrous 2021 season. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Michael Maguire will coach Wests Tigers in 2022 after the club announced he would stay in the position, despite a disastrous 2021 season. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“Michael has been with the club over arguably its most challenging time with the COVID-19 pandemic, has overseen significant change both on and off the field throughout his tenure and, on behalf of all at Wests Tigers, I’d like to thank him for his effort so far.

“We are firmly committed to building a high performing club. With our strong financial position, increased investment and recent success of our pathways teams, the new Centre of Excellence and continued work on a South West academy, the arrival of Tim Sheens and his experience in NRL systems, this club is posed to reap the rewards of several years of hard work.

“We believe that through Michael’s vast experience and by continuing to challenge the way we operate, we will continue drive the high standards and behaviours needed to ensure we achieve our goals as a club.”

With AAP

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