The Wests Tigers side looked heartbroken after their narrow two-point loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
After 79 minutes without a try, the game ended in frantic scenes as a Titans kick bounced off the goal post. The ball was then knocked down by Jock Madden in the Tigers in-goal before AJ Brimson jumped on it for the Titans.
The Tigers’ winless start to the year now extends their losing streak to seven games over two seasons.
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Speaking to the media after the game, Tigers coach Michael Maguire was devastated by the result but proud of his player’s efforts to keep the score at 6-2 until the last minute.
“It can be a cruel game,” he said.
“To see the dressing room like this, I’m really very proud of the players, how they stay there and work continuously.
“I really find out a lot about my training and dealing with the players during these times.
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“I couldn’t be more proud of their solidity. There are a lot of injuries in the dressing room at the moment. It’s difficult.”
Even with the latest defeat adding to the mounting pressure on Maguire, he suggested he was still having fun coaching the team.
Maguire crushed by a rampant loss
“I really enjoy my training, and I enjoy coaching these boys because of the adversity they have to face, and they keep bouncing back,” he said.
“They’ve shown how they can play there. If they do it over and over again, we’re going to put ourselves in a winning arena.”
The defeat came despite Jacob Liddle bravely playing with a broken nose and the team remaining in control when down to 12 men after Tyrone Peachey was placed in the bin for 10 minutes.
“It doesn’t go the way you want sometimes and it’s hard to swallow, but we have to keep going,” Tigers skipper James Tamou told Nine after the game.
A chaotic try wins the game
“We come here and it’s always tough here, you know the Titans are always tough, we knew it would be a tough offensive team.
“To keep them at a score like that – but close enough is not good enough.
“Once again, we have to remain optimistic about our situation and continue.”
The controversial decision to allow Luke Brooks to kick for a two-run buffer rather than roll the dice for a first down in the closing stages of the match has previously been discussed as a catch-22 situation.
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“The game plan for us was long, we knew we had the effort and the defense to hold them back,” Tamou said.
“It’s a big win (for us) but again it doesn’t give the two points.
“It just depends on how we want to play. We knew we wanted to give every effort and (the defence) so I guess that’s why the two points came into play. And we did but, we did – I don’t take far from us – but like I said, close enough isn’t good enough.”
Tamou and the Tigers will be aiming for their first victory of the 2022 season when they face the Cronulla Sharks in the fifth round at PointsBet Stadium.
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