The Wests Tigers have finally ended Michael Maguire’s three-and-a-half-year tenure at Concord with a handsome payment as Tim Sheens has revealed his reasons for the decision.
Growing pressure over the board’s inability to make a decision forced the club to finally make the difficult decision.
NSW champion and Australian half-back Brett Kimmorley will take over as caretaker manager for the remainder of the season.
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Chief of Football Tim Sheens has explained that the decision to part ways with Michael Maguire was to give the club certainty to move forward to allow them to build their roster.
“I’ve looked at it well over the last week and a half and where we were halfway through the season,” Sheens told reporters Tuesday night.
“Everyone liked to call it a review. I like to think it was a throwback to where we were last year when there were issues about Madge here.
“That was before I came here. In the eight months since things haven’t improved and we’re in our fourth year, so in real terms, my recommendation was and particularly for this reason:
“We are like most clubs are looking at next season and the season after and our recruitment.
“For example, players out of contract this year in November can be discussed. Out of contract players can be moved immediately. Players who are still a year old can be signed.
“I couldn’t say that Michael would be here in three years or four years for that matter.
“I have already said publicly that three years is the development period we have here. There are 17-year-olds and 19-year-olds in our club who will be very good too.
“So we needed someone over there who is going to be there. For what we’re doing buying players for next year, we need that coach involved.
“Otherwise we will have a situation where we close next year and if a new coach comes in he will have nowhere to maneuver.
“It’s basically the moment at every club and the other two clubs who have also changed coaches are doing the same.
“You want to have a manager in place and you want him to make decisions on next year’s roster.”
Sheens admitted that Maguire’s poor win-loss record played a part in the decision.
“We’re in a results-driven business, let’s face it,” Sheens said.
“We’re a professional sport so we all know that and I’ve been there myself. It’s not always fair, but ultimately it’s the reality of professional sports. So that’s part of it.
“But more in my thinking and my recommendation, I said if we can’t say he will be our coach in three years, then he shouldn’t be here and now is the time to do that before we go to November.
“There is still a little football to play and the players are out of contract. Players here will be looking for renewals.
“Guys here like Jackson Hastings and Adam Doueihi, who have been pushed publicly about what we do with them. It has to be a decision from a coach who is going to be here long term.
Sheens revealed that Maguire understood his position was in doubt before he was fired.
“Madge is realistic and he knew he was under pressure,” Sheens said.
“Like me, like the whole club. We have 400,000 fans who are counting on us to give them something to cheer about and there is a good chance we will miss the semi-finals again this year.
“We’ve talked about the money we’ve spent on development and I think that’s the way we need to go and we need someone for at least another three or maybe four more years to take control. of this and bring these children. through.
“We have kids from our first year who are only 21. We also have excellent under 19s. Noddy (Kimmorley) knows everything I’m talking about there.
“It’s my job to talk about where we’re going to be in three years.”
Sheens revealed the Tigers would go to the market to get the best coach available for the job.
“We’re going to go out there now and Brett (Kimmorley) won’t be under any pressure to win the competition,” Sheens said.
“Developing players is what I will ask him to do and that’s exactly what he wants to do. If that translates into wins, that’s fine. In the meantime we are developing for next year , are recruiting for next year, as well as recruiting a coach.
“So we can sit down now and not disrespect Madge by going to people before he’s out of the role.
“He shook my hand today really tight. He shook hands with Justin (Pascoe) and Lee (Hagipantelis). The three of us spoke to him today. He took it like the man that it is.
“Don’t get me wrong, he can lead. there is no doubt. He proved it. We don’t dispute that.
“At the end of the day, it’s just not the right solution for us right now.”
Sheens was asked to explain the timing of the decision after Maguire survived the ax after last year’s review.
“Look, the review at that point was that things didn’t work out…it was another bad season for us,” Sheens said.
“Part of that review that I didn’t participate in because I was in England and hadn’t really been employed was Madge’s performance and that of others.
“Out of this review came two new assistant coaches. A change of GM for me. A trail led by Matthew Betsye, which we never had before anyone led the trails. A trainer on the trails in Brett (Kimmorley) that we haven’t had before.
“So there have been several changes. This has not changed the results this year to the extent that we had hoped and so we must continue to act to resolve this issue.
Sheens revealed he was looking for a particular type of coach to take on the top job.
“A developmental coach,” Sheens said when asked what the next Tigers coach looks like.
“Of course names (like Cameron Ciraldo) have been thrown around.
“At the end of the day, the usual names will be thrown. My name has often been in this stuff too. Fitzy (Craig Fitzgibbon) was used as the next best thing to come.
“We are not under pressure to do it now. We trust Brett to lead the organization. We spoke at length to the players and the staff today.
“Everyone is in song to prepare for the game this week. It’s business as usual for us, even if it’s unusual. I’m not stupid about this. But our job, my job, Brett’s job, and the players’ job is to go out and win football games and perform.
“We can all take some of the blame for that.”
Sheens did not reveal whether the club had a particular manager in mind.
“Whether or not you’re looking for heads or waiting for candidates, they will come,” Sheens said.
“I think my phone is going to get pretty hot over the next few days about people wanting jobs.
“But for now, we can sit down now and take a look. But I am very aware of what I have just said. November is coming and coming fast.
“We will have to move within the next six weeks because we need someone on board before that November deadline where that particular person will have the chance to have a say in our roster and our future.”
Maguire was at the helm of training on Tuesday morning and addressed the group of players after the club handed down their decision.
“Wests Tigers head coach Michael Maguire was relieved of his duties today, with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement.
“Wests Tigers sincerely thank Michael for all of his hard work and effort over the past three and a half years.
“As this is undoubtedly a difficult time for all parties, the club would like to respect Michael’s privacy, wish him all the best and have no further comment.
“For the remainder of the season, Brett Kimmorley will take over as interim coach.”
Maguire will walk away with a payout of $800,000.
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News Corp reporter Phil Rothfield broke the news on NRL 360 on Monday night expecting there to be action imminent.
“Right before our show, I spoke to some of the major Tigers power brokers. Madge’s demise, from what I can gather, is closer,” Rothfield said.
“The story is a moving beast and he was supposed to be gone last year off season.”
Paul Kent then got in touch with Maguire who revealed he had had no discussions with the club.
“I just had a quick little chat with Michael Maguire. He’s on his way home from practice and he said he’s just been with Tim Sheens and everything is new to him. is what he said,” Kent told NRL 360.
“So like Buzz said, I think it’s something that’s moving at an accelerating rate, but Michael Maguire certainly hasn’t said anything and has no intention of stepping into himself and say “I’m done”, so good for him.”