Story against Maguire in bid to save Tigers season…unless they can emulate ’99 Broncos or ’57 Rabbitohs

Anything less than a place in the final should bring down the curtain on Michael Maguire’s time as Wests Tigers manager and he will have to overcome history if they are to recover from their terrible start to qualify. for the final.

The 1999 Broncos are the only team in the NRL era to have lost their first five games before advancing to the Finals. The only other team in Premier history to start 0-5 was South Sydney in 1957, who went on to win 11 of their next 13 to finish third in the 10-team competition, beat Wests in their first qualifier before being eliminated by Manly in the preliminary final.

Maguire’s side have won their last two matches after a five-game losing slip to give Tigers fans a glimmer of hope that their 2022 campaign can be salvaged.

An unlikely push to the final could potentially save Maguire’s position with the club ready to show him the door if he goes four straight seasons finishing in races as well.

Unlike the 1999 Broncos team which was filled with stars like Darren Lockyer, Steve Renouf, Gorden Tallis, Wendell Sailor, Petero Civoniceva and Shane Webcke, the modern Tigers are a combination of players who are either past their prime or who don’t have not yet lived. up to their potential.

The decision to change Jackson Hastings to half-back over the past fortnight, with Luke Brooks taking on a secondary role as playmaker, has helped turn the tide.

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

There have been eight other teams that have started the season with five straight losses since 1998 and most have finished well out of contention for the finals.

The only other team that sniffed the playoff equation was the 2007 Sydney Roosters, who finished the season strong to finish 10th, just one point off eighth place.

Perhaps worryingly for Maguire, the catalyst for this late-season resurgence was Chris Anderson’s mid-season exit as manager with interim Brad Fittler guiding them to five wins and a draw in eight last rounds.

Among other 0-5 season starts, Canterbury last year finished last with a 3-21 record, the 2018 Eels also recovered the wooden spoon (6-18), the 2016 Roosters placed first- last (6-18), the 2008 Rabbitohs didn’t go past 14th place (8-16), the 2005 Knights finished 8-16 but occupied the cellar, the 2003 Sharks achieved the same record in being 12th while the Sea Eagles in 1999 started as badly as the Broncos but finished as high as 13th (9-14-1).

Wests, who have not recorded a hat-trick of victories since round six in 2018, will face a side in a similar situation in Wollongong on Sunday.

St George Illawarra started the season slow, losing four of their first five before bringing their cause, and manager Anthony Griffin’s tenure, to life with back-to-back wins over the Knights and Roosters.

Story against Maguire in bid to save Tigers season...unless they can emulate '99 Broncos or '57 Rabbitohs

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Griffin faced a lot of criticism for demoting young guns Tyrell Sloan and Junior Amone, but after losing for a fortnight with Moses Mbye and Jack Bird in their place, they were at least able to get back on track. right way.

Maguire and Griffin are similar coaches in that they both favor an old-school approach and have garnered more than their fair share of slingshots and arrows from fans and the media.

After winning the premiership, South Sydney’s historic 21st trophy, in 2014, Maguire enjoyed just one season with a winning record when he oversaw a 13-11 campaign the following year that ended in a first-round playoff loss to Cronulla.

He missed the final in his last two seasons at Souths with records of 9-15 and a 12th-place finish each time before being sacked so the club could promote assistant Anthony Seibold to the top job.

Maguire’s three seasons with the Tigers yielded similarly lackluster results — an 11-13 record in 2019 to finish ninth, 7-13 for 11th in 2020 and 8-16 for 13th last year.

In fact, his NRL career strike rate fell below 50% for the first time this season with an overall record of 113-115.

To his credit, Maguire hasn’t shied away from the intense spotlight on his performance, ignoring what he calls ‘the outside’ and is determined to see out the rest of his contract at the Tigers which runs until the end of next year.

“Winning in a football organization definitely changes conversations, but we’re all very focused on knowing we have a lot to do and we have to show up tomorrow knowing we have to do it all again,” he said. on his Saturday. captain’s race press conference.

“I think Jacko has definitely added to what we’ve done, but I think our midfielders, our strikers are setting a very strong platform.

“The conversations between Jacko and Brooksy add to what allows us to play this style that we have been and we said before the start of the whole season that we were going to subtly change our attack.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Jackson Hastings of the Tigers celebrates with teammates after shooting a basket to win the NRL Round 6 match between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers at CommBank Stadium on April 18, 2022, in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Just when it looked like Maguire would have a stabilized spine, full-back Daine Laurie suffered a knee injury for at least a month, with Starford To’a taking the No.1 shirt.

Griffin’s task of a third straight win to keep Wolves off his doorstep has been made more difficult with Jaydn Su’A out for the foreseeable future after suffering a serious ankle injury in the Anzac Day win against the Roosters.

Five-eighth Jack Bird is an outside chance to play this weekend after being cleared of a broken arm, but the knee injury he also suffered against the Habs is more likely to rule him out with the youngster Junior Amone pistol ready to replace it at the start. line up.

“We’ve built momentum over the past two weeks, so it’s very important to keep it going now,” Griffin said.

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