Sports

Decision on Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire looming



Privately, the Tigers’ position has been that a decision on Maguire would not even be contemplated until it became obvious that the club will miss out on the finals for an 11th straight year.

Which brings us back to that internal benchmark – that if they weren’t on double digits by round 13, they could kiss their season goodbye.

Last year after 13 rounds, the Tigers were on 10 points with five wins and eight losses.

There is a sense of positivity stemming from the new-found resilience the team has shown in 2022. The high-risk signing of Jackson Hastings has paid off handsomely.

You can’t fault the Tigers for the commitment that is being shown on the field. But there are some who are concerned that simply competing has become a pass mark for a team that was on the cusp of the top eight when Maguire took over.

Club sources say that Maguire has changed this year as part of the measures imposed on him after last year’s controversial end-of-season review.

He is delegating responsibility to new assistant coaches Nathan Cayless and Ben Gardiner, which has resulted in a notable improvement in defence.

The injuries that have decimated the roster make it difficult for the club to make a proper assessment of Maguire’s fourth year at the helm. But the likelihood of him having all hands back on deck before their fate for this season is known is slim.

At some point, the Tigers will make a decision: sack him or back him. That point may not be far away.

Crichton, Staggs the favoured duo

Stephen Crichton and Kotoni Staggs are the frontrunners for the NSW centre positions vacated by injuries to Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic. Blues coach Brad Fittler names his team next Sunday night.

American dream

The NRL is still pushing forward with plans to play a premiership game in Los Angeles next year. ARLC chairman Peter V’landys wants it to happen next year and will push hard in the coming weeks to get it across the line.

NRL to keep fighting NSWRL

Despite a NSW Supreme Court finding that the NSWRL election results should stand despite improperly excluding Cronulla CEO Dino Mezzatesta, the NRL will move to appeal the decision.

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A phone hook up last week revealed unanimous support among the clubs for the NRL to continue fighting on their behalf and ensure a fresh election is conducted.

Leichhardt in line for funding bonanza

There’s talk Leichhardt Oval will benefit from up to $50 million funding grant as part of the investment in suburban grounds. The announcement will be made next month when the state government unveils its plans for the budget on June 21.

Bunnies on board with Albo

There was an interesting guest inside Anthony Albanese’s inner sanctum on election night: Rabbitohs supremo Nick Pappas.

Australia’s new prime minister was revelling in his victory over Sharks fan Scott Morrison, and shares such a close bond with Pappas that he had the South Sydney chairman at close quarters all night.

Rabbitohs co-owner and Hollywood star Russell Crowe famously voiced one of Albanese’s election ads and his passion for the cardinal and myrtle knows no bounds.

Last year when the Rabbitohs were preparing for the grand final in Queensland with COVID-19 protocols reigning, Albanese agreed to join a Zoom call for South Sydney’s corporates.

Worst-case scenario for Best

The Knights are bracing for the likelihood that Bradman Best will have to undergo surgery on his dislocated elbow. The gun centre was rushed straight up the tunnel after the gruesome injury suffered in Newcastle’s loss to Brisbane. The club was awaiting swelling to subside in Best’s elbow before deciding whether the 20-year-old needs to go under the knife.

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