Home » Tigers chairman lifts lid on Madge ‘debacle’

Tigers chairman lifts lid on Madge ‘debacle’

Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has lifted the lid on the “embarrassing” circus that engulfed the club on Monday and culminated in the decision to retain Michael Maguire as coach.

The Tigers board launched an urgent review of the football operations immediately following a dismal last-round loss to wooden spooners Canterbury a fortnight ago.

The review was conducted by club CEO Justin Pascoe and football chief Adam Hartigan. It was widely believed it would end with the sacking of the coach.

A report on Monday afternoon claimed Maguire was to be axed within hours, but the club released a sensational statement less than 24 hours later announcing it will not sack him.

Hours later, Hagipantelis fronted Nine News Sydney to explain the comical series of events.

“I’ve never been critical of Michael Maguire as a coach,” he said.

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“I’m unhappy with finishing 13th, as our fans and members are, and as they should be. But as a person and as a coach I’ve never been critical of Michael, but unhappy with the results.

“Yesterday in my view was a debacle and an embarrassment to the club.

“Far too much of this process was played out in the media.”

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It was reported the Tigers were eyeing off current Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo as a replacement coach once Maguire was gone.

There will be speculation the club only decided to retain Maguire because Ciraldo knocked them back, but the chairman denies that is the case.

“We did not consider any alternatives whatsoever. We did not approach any alternative candidates, we did not speak to anyone about it,” he said.

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The Tigers have slid down the NRL ladder since Maguire took the reins three years ago.

This year they won only eight games and finished 13th, with the demoralising Round 25 loss to the Bulldogs a sour end to another sad season.

Hagipantelis says Maguire is not under any pressure to keep his job in the early stages of next season.

“The pressure will be external, it won’t be internal,” he said.

“It won’t be pressure we put on Michael or the playing group. We will provide them all the support and the resources they need to succeed.”

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