How Madge’s passion sparked the Tigers

A passionate Michael Maguire pre-game rev-up and an accountability lunch over beers has been credited for instilling “belief” in the embattled Wests Tigers following calls for the coach to be sacked.

Tigers halfback Luke Brooks revealed the “pressure” had been relieved after the team’s crucial win over St George Illawarra.

Brooks revealed Maguire’s plea to play passionately and represent the Tigers’ jumper with pride resonated with the players.

“We’ve seen some good ones from Madge – but this was probably a seven or an eight out of 10,” Brooks said about Maguire’s pre-game speech.

“He did get a bit fired up right before the game, right before we were about to run out.

“It worked for us. It was good to see the passion from Madge. He has plenty of passion for our side and plenty of belief.”

Maguire also laid a strong platform for accountability in the lead-up to the Dragons game when he invited the players for lunch at a western Sydney pub to openly discuss the team’s woes.

Michael Maguire is striving for accountability at the Wests Tigers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

He directly asked the playing group for feedback, including any issues with him as the head coach.

Brooks said the players quickly dismissed any concerns with Maguire and shifted the focus to the team’s poor on-field form.

“A few of the boys spoke up and everyone said we’ve got to look at our individual performances,” he said.

“It is easy to blame other people, but you’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror and fix your performance first.

“But we are the ones playing, so he (Madge) wanted to hear what our thoughts were.

“We are committed. We’ve proven that we can match it with the best teams, so we’ve just got to go out and do that every week.”

Tigers captain James Tamou praised Maguire for putting himself in a vulnerable position and opening the door for player criticism.

Tamou believes this open mentality is a testament to the coach’s passion to see the Tigers succeed.

“Madge is very passionate – if he could, he would strap on the boots and run out with us and make the tackles,” Tamou said.

“He is that passionate, and that is why everyone loves him.

“Everyone is buying in and he is not losing anyone – we are just not getting the job done.”

Tamou is an equally influential leader, according to Brooks.

Luke Brooks is a big fan of coach Michael Maguire and captain James Tamou. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

The Tigers halfback can’t speak more highly of the club’s captain.

“Jimmy is a great leader,” he said.

“When the Cowboys won their premiership, they lost their first five games, so he has been in this position.

“It is good to have him leading from the front. He is a great leader, and he has been around for a long time, and he has come from Penrith, who have been at the top and winning a lot of games.

“So, he knows how to win.”

The Tigers will look to back up their win over the Dragons when they host the Gold Coast at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.

Brooks has nominated intensity as the key to maintaining their winning ways against the Titans.

“I think last week was one of our best training weeks, so that is the blueprint, we’ve got to train well,” he said.

“That builds confidence going into games and we know we are capable of that.

“It is an easy fix – you’ve just got to win and all the chatter stops.”

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