‘Not dealing with kids’: Maguire responds to player unrest over coaching style and Benji axing

Tigers coach Michael Maguire has responded to claims he lost the dressing room over his intense approach 2020 and controversial decision to let club legend Benji Marshall go.

Widely regarded as one of the most intense coaches in the NRL, Maguire has defended his methods on the eve of the 2021 season, despite conceding it got some players off side last year.

“I think we all know times have changed and you need to handle each person in a different light,” Maguire told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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“But I’m also dealing with men. I’m not dealing with kids here. It is the responsibility of the senior guys to set a tone around what they want to achieve. If they go after that and they set standards, it influences the young ones.”

Maguire was criticised for chopping and changing the Tigers team last year as he held people accountable for some poor on-field results.

The halves were a key case in point with Marshall, Josh Reynolds and Luke Brooks all dropped at some stage throughout the season.


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Marshall has since moved to the Rabbitohs and while Maguire wouldn’t directly address his once strong relationship with the man he brought back to the Tigers in 2018, he makes no apologies for making tough decisions for the good of the team.

“I’ve come to the club to make it successful,” Maguire said.

“Did I make change for stimulation last year? Yeah, I did. At times it worked, at times it didn’t.

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“But if you keep doing the same you’ll end up the same. I think sometimes you have to be able to get people out of their comfort zone to go to another level.”

Maguire has put speculation he will leave the club to bed by committing to a contract extension in December that will take him through to the end of the 2021 season.

Benji Marshall after his last game for the Tigers.Source:Getty Images

The former premiership winning coach at South Sydney knows what it takes to go all the way and believes he needed to make changes to the club in order to end the longest finals drought in the NRL, which stretches back to 2011.

“I was aware,” Maguire said when asked about the player unrest towards his coaching style in 2020.

“I was well aware. We were pushing boundaries that we hadn’t pushed before. But we have to push the club to a higher level. If we keep doing things the same, we will get the same result.”

Originally published as‘Not dealing with kids’: Madge’s blunt response to claims of player rift over THAT Benji axing

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