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Opinion

The Wests Tigers are a mess, but blaming Michael Maguire is a mistake

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2nd September, 2020
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As another season comes to an end, the Wests Tigers continue to fail.

A season starting with promise, headlined by the emergence of loan star Harry Grant, has fallen into gloom and despair once more.

The cherry on top is club legend and all-time great Benji Marshall being shown the door. The man that inspired so many to shirk defenders with a quirky step, who led a merged club to their first premiership in 2005, has been told he’s no longer wanted.

Benji Marshall

Benji Marshall (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Were the Tigers right to move on Marshall? Possibly. Sure he was second on the Dally M leaderboard earlier in the year but he has been found wanting in defence on numerous occasions and the club can’t progress with an ageing Marshall as the centrepiece of their attack.

But it is not the fact that Benji is getting moved on, it’s how he is leaving – by reading it in the paper.

This from a club with the longest finals drought in the NRL, dating back to 2011.

You can blame it on the constant sacking of coaches, the lack of stability in the front office or the continued departure of star players. But the real problem is the lack of accountability from players.

They may say, “Well maybe if this player stayed, or maybe if Ivan Cleary didn’t hang us out to dry, we would be in a better spot.” But look at the success Cleary is having with Penrith this year. Look at the players that continue to perform and outshine their potential as soon as they leave the Tigers.

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Has one of your friend’s partner made them a completely different person and you’ve begged your friend to leave? Then, as soon as they bail on that relationship, your friend thanks you and ask you why you didn’t try harder to get them out of that toxic situation before.

That’s where the Tigers are – a toxic club and organisation that is so stuck in their ways and culture of ineptitude and misery, that everything and everyone that is associated with it diminishes in value and potential.

Luke Brooks was the Dally M halfback only two years ago and is now struggling to player first grade. In 14 games this year, in which he’s started 11 times, Brooks has two tries and three try assists – and let’s not forget the 32 missed tackles that go along with that.

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The coach has had enough and is demanding more. But what happens when you try and demand excellence from a toxic partner? They get angry, yell at you and try and shift the blame to make it seem like you’re the problem.

Thus we’ve had leaks from disgruntled players and officials who say that being at the club with Michael Maguire is like “walking on eggshells”.

Please. What a loser mentality to have at a ‘professional’ sporting organisation.

If the Tigers are to change, it all starts with attitude and effort.

If players want to complain that it’s tough or say that’s not like how it has been in the past, move them on. But do it respectfully, and please don’t make them find out in the Daily Telegraph.

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