Wests Tigers CEO responds after 'embarrassing' change-room act slammed

Justin Pascoe has come under fire over his actions before and during the Wests Tigers' loss to Brisbane.

Justin Pascoe, pictured here on the field before the Wests Tigers game and in the dressing rooms at half-time.
Justin Pascoe was spotted on the field before the Wests Tigers game and in the dressing rooms at half-time. Image: Twitter/Fox Sports

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has slammed criticism of his actions before and during the side's loss to Brisbane as 'ridiculous'. Pascoe has found himself at the centre of controversy after he was spotted on the field and in the change-rooms on Saturday night.

The Tigers were thrashed 46-12 and fell to 0-5 on the season - marking the first time since 1968 that a team has started back-to-back seasons with five-straight losses. Amid backlash from fans about their on-field performances, their CEO has also managed to find himself mired in controversy.

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Pascoe was spotted on the field at Suncorp Stadium before the match wearing sneakers and carrying a football, and also in the change-rooms at half-time while coach Tim Sheens was speaking to the players. Curiously, Pascoe could be seen looking at his phone and not even paying attention to what Sheens was saying.

Leading journalist Phil Rothfield described both moments as 'embarrassing' for Pascoe and the Tigers amid their dreadful start to the season. But Pascoe has since fired back. “This is ridiculous. I was in the team polo we wear to travel,” he told Rothfield.

“The photo was taken two hours before the game. It’s very different to a home game when we’re entertaining our corporate clients. I always chip in and help when we travel.

“I unload bags from the bus. If people want help putting out the cones, I’ll help. I was just walking around, talking to Benji (Marshall) and Alex Clarke from high performance. I actually watched from the sideline behind the bench. It’s no big deal.”

Former Bulldogs and Dragons player James Graham said on Triple M on Sunday: “You just don’t need it, you’ve got to have the self-awareness, if you are in a position like the CEO it is how you dress that is important. And also you’re the person that’s in charge... you should be there observing and if you are in the changing room at half-time, observe and listen, get off your phone.

“Listen to what Tim Sheens is saying and you might actually learn something, because if you have to go back to your owners and make a decision on Tim Sheens, how is he in the dressing room? 'I don’t know, I was looking at my socials’.

“Should he even be there in the first place? No, but if he is there, sometimes you see the figureheads of the organisation post-game, observe, don’t flick through your phone. Is Tim Sheens saying the right things? Are the right people in the room? I don’t get why he is there.”

Justin Pascoe under fire amid Wests Tigers woes

Journalist James Hooper took aim at Pascoe and pointed out the Tigers' poor record under his reign. “I’ve been saying for the past 18 months, this bloke is a complete paddle-pop lion and a complete pretender,” Hooper said.

“If you go back to when he began in that position eight years ago, the Tigers have got progressively worse over that period. He’ll argue that he helped build the Centre of Excellence... they have got a barber shop in the Centre of Excellence, so that’s really helping them out in terms of results.

“You can’t blame him for last night’s results, but that’s not the image you should have from a boss. If you want to go back over his list of bad shots, he went and hired Ivan Cleary who didn’t have a job at the time and gave him a long-term contract.

Justin Pascoe, pictured here during a Wests Tigers game in 2022.
Justin Pascoe looks on during a Wests Tigers game in 2022. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

“Ivan told players to either get on the bus or get off the bus, and he got off himself. But we’ve been over that, everyone understands the opportunity has been vindicated. The Tigers have just been in a vicious cycle, a road to nowhere ever since.

“It just feels like it is a little bit of a protected species society at the top level of the club, there’s no way the fans or members can get any sort of voice with them. Spare me with that ‘Ask the Boss’ podcast jibberish, I don’t know any other CEO who does that.”

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