NRL: Balmain royalty calls on Wests Tigers to be upfront with under-fire coach following ‘embarrassing’ loss
Balmain royalty Ben Elias has called on Wests Tigers’ officials to be ’honest’ with coach Michael Maguire now if they plan to sack him.
Elias unloaded on the Tigers‘ embarrassing’ loss to the last-placed Canterbury, declaring he has never been this “angry” about a rugby league result that he says typifies the club’s woeful season.
The 38-0 loss to the Bulldogs places Maguire’s future as coach under major doubt despite having two seasons left on his contract.
It has emerged Tigers officials have been considering coaching replacements like Shane Flanagan, Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo and St Helens coach Kristian Woolf.
Elias understands why Maguire is under pressure given the Tigers haven’t improved under his watch, but he wants the club’s bosses to be upfront with him about his future.
“I’m not of the belief of being sneaky and I’m more of an upfront and tell it how it is, so if the Tigers are serious about moving Madge on, then tell him straight up,” said Elias, who played 234 games for Balmain.
“If I was part of the organisation, I’d be totally honest with the coach and the coach who I know and respect would be totally honest back and say, ‘Look mate I’ve failed’.
“People fail in life at jobs or in coaching. Don’t be afraid of failing and we have failed at the Tigers. We have failed dismally.
“I always support whoever is at the helm and I’m a very optimistic and positive fella, however that game broke the camel’s back.
“They are talking about getting Tim Sheens to the club to do a review. I mean, I could do the review now.”
Elias was inundated with close to 20 messages while he was watching the Tigers’ poor performance against the Bulldogs.
He is frustrated for the club’s fans because he believes they deserve better.
“I haven’t been that angry watching a game – I feel sorry for our supporters,” he said.
“We haven’t improved. They’ve gone from ninth to 13th this season.
“The great indicator of sport is the scoreboard, and unfortunately our scoreboard is disastrous.
“And there is nothing whatsoever to say than how embarrassing was that loss to Canterbury.
“It wasn’t like it was a one-off. We’ve been consistently getting smacked. The Sharks put 50 on us when we had the season to play for, we’ve also had Tommy Raudonikis tribute games at Leichhardt and Campbelltown, and we lost both games.
“In fact, both games were deplorable.”
Elias is also fearful for the Tigers’ future given the club has only signed Wigan Warriors players Jackson Hastings and Oliver Gildart.
“I am an optimistic person, but what have we got to look forward to?” he said.
“We’ve struggled to sign players to the club, and we’ve signed Hastings from the Super League in England for next season, but give me some hope for 2022.
“As a supporter and staunch lover of the club, that loss to the Bulldogs gave me no joy whatsoever. It was embarrassing.”
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