Maguire’s future in peril after embarrassing final-round loss

Michael Maguire’s future at the Wests Tigers has become more uncertain after an embarrassing 38-0 loss to NRL wooden spooners Canterbury.

Already missing the finals for the 10th season in a row, the Tigers fell to a new low against the Bulldogs who were superior in every aspect in just their third win of the season.

The heavy loss in the final game of the regular season was terrible timing for the under-fire Tigers coach who says he’s still the right man for the job.

Reports emerged in recent days that Maguire’s future is up for discussion by club bosses who will conduct a season review of the football department this month.

And in light of Sunday’s loss, it’s not expected to be pretty.

Although defence has been an issue all season, the Tigers crumbled against the Bulldogs who have hardly been prolific attack in 2021, scoring an average of just 13 points a game.

The Tigers complete the season in lowly 13th, their worst finish in Maguire’s three years in charge.

It’s also the worst finish across his NRL coaching career.

“I know where the team is going and the organisation knows where the team is going, and we’ve got to make sure we’re continually being disciplined about what we’re trying to build here,” Maguire said in response to questions about his future.

The Tigers were without big names James Tamou, James Roberts, Adam Doueihi and Daine Laurie – players Maguire says would have made a difference.

“Changing teams and changing pathways of clubs takes a little bit of time,” he continued.

“Doesn’t mean you can’t get better performances on the park, I acknowledge that, but it’s about continually sticking to the path where we’re going with this group.

“We’ve gone to our youth now, and add in some of those players, the game is a lot different.”

Injuries to Tommy Talau (suspected ACL) and Jake Liddle (shoulder) further soured the result.

By contrast, the Bulldogs were left smiling after snapping a 10-game losing streak.

It was a bright finish to a miserable season with Melbourne-bound Nick Meaney and halfback Jake Averillo both scoring doubles in the resounding win at Redcliffe.

Jack Hetherington, Jayden Okunbor and Corey Allan also scored tries in the club’s first win since June 14 against St George Illawarra – 83 days ago.

The spirited win will ease pressure on coach Trent Barrett who has had a sorry first season at the club, but it promises to be better in 2022 with Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Paul Vaughan and Matt Dufty already signed on.

“I just want them to get used to winning again. It’s hard,” Barrett said.

“We’ve been in a hole for two or three years and you forget how to win. 

“We’ve got some young blokes in there and I don’t want them to forget what that feels like.”


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