Maguire bringing back South Sydney of old
Greg Inglis in action during the NRL round 7 New Zealand Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Wayne Drought
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire is an expert at flying under the radar. At his previous club, Wigan, he was known as man of few words, preferring to talk mainly about his team’s performance on that day rather then the decisions of the referees or finals time.
But this season South Sydney’s performances are hard to ignore. Not just because of the individual efforts of players such as Greg Inglis, Dave Taylor and Sam Burgess, but because of the changes that are becoming more and more evident under Maguire.
Any Souths fan will recognise the fact that for the past few years, South Sydney were a play what you see sort of team without any real solid structure. While this was successful at times and exciting to watch, it left room for too many errors in defense and also left the players wondering what to do next, which usually resulted in a lapse of confidence and concentration.
While they had extremely capable captains in Roy Asotasi and Michael Crocker, it was hard for them to direct a team who were trying their heart out, just didn’t know what to do when the going got tough. Enter the world of Michael Maguire.
Maguire started his coaching career as an assistant at Melbourne under Craig Bellamy. He then went on to coach English Super League club Wigan, where he won his first ever title as a head coach.
As we all know the English Super League is a different ball game to the NRL, however it most certainly says something about the man as a coach. People who have worked with Maguire speak of him as emphasizing dedication and discpline.
If you listen to his press conferences he repeats the phrases “working hard, improving as a group, development, learning and working as a team”. From that we can see what type of person Maguire is and what his philosophies are. More importantly, we can see it on the field.
Maguire has implemented many of his ideals to the team, including hard work and discipline and is starting to make the Rabbitohs realise what it takes to win a premiership and be consistently up there with the likes of Melbourne and Brisbane.
After all, the best known and most successful coaches are renowned for it, such as Wayne Bennett, Des Hasler, Craig Bellamy and Jack Gibson. This is paying dividends on the field as we see a much more structured, confident and consistent team.
In my opinion, it’s Maguire’s attention to detail and his ability to explain things in a way that the team understands that make him a very good coach.
One of the things Bennett said is that he is struggling to make his team “buy into his ideas”. This doesn’t appear to be a problem for Souths.
Roy Asotasi has been quoted as saying the team “wants to play for their coach”; that in itself shows the leadership qualities Maguire possess and his ability to make his team believe in what they are trying to achieve and that they can do it.
For Souths fans it’s been a case of “not this year next year”, but I am certain that under Maguire, the fans will not have to use this excuse for much longer.