2022-04-12 21:51:00

Michael Maguire demoted big-money playmaker Luke Brooks in a bid to kickstart the Tigers’ season and the call has raised a lot of questions.

It was revealed by foxsports.com.au prior to teams dropping on Tuesday that Brooks would wear the No.6 jersey and Jackson Hastings would play halfback as well as taking on the role of being chief playmaker.

It comes as Maguire desperately tries to turn the club’s season around. The Tigers haven’t won a game in the first five rounds — it’s they’re worst-ever start to a season.

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NRL 360 host — and former Tigers player — Braith Anasta said the team “needed change” and that they’re “running out of ideas,” while News Corp journalist Paul Crawley believes the change sends a “significant statement.”

“You’ve just moved a guy that spent his entire career playing in the No.7 jumper as halfback as your chief playmaker who next year his wage reportedly goes up to $1.1 million or $1.2 million and you’ve just said to him ‘you’re not our halfback, you’re not our chief playmaker’,” Crawley said on NRL 360.

“You can look at it as shuffling the deck chairs but it’s also a significant statement saying ‘Luke Brooks, you’re not up to it’.”

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Meanwhile, Paul Kent pointed out that it’s the first time Maguire has indicated that Brooks isn’t reaching expectations.

Brooks is one of the most criticised players in the competition because of his hefty pay packet and the fact that he hasn’t been able to steer the Tigers to a finals berth since cementing his spot in the 17 back in 2014.

But Maguire has always defended the 27-year-old. He was even named the Tigers’ 2021 player of the year alongside Daine Laurie, much to the confusion of many fans and pundits — who questioned how Adam Doueihi didn’t win the top honour.

“It’s the first admission,” Kent said on NRL 360.

“Because they’ve defended Luke Brooks through thick and thin. We have spoken ad nauseam now about the two requests over summer for a release — they were both denied — ‘he’s our halfback, he’s going no where.’ Five rounds in, ‘he’s now our five-eighth.’

“He’s been shifted, he’s been demoted as far as the playmaking role.

“It’s the first admission that everything we’ve been told and they’ve been so resolute about for the past six to eight weeks, at least, is actually starting to cause doubts.

“That being said what can they do?”

“It feels confusing… it feels like the club — confused,” News Corp journalist Dave Riccio responded with.

“It’s worth noting that when (Brooks) won the Dally M Halfback of the Year, that was when he was with Benji (Marshall) who was the more dominant half that year and Brooks played more of that six role, so maybe they’re trying to wind back the clock in that fashion.

“But to knock back the releases in the pre-season and to move him five weeks in that reeks of confusion.”

Kent added: “With him taking up so much of the salary cap — that’s the other part — if he was on half of what he’s on you’d say ‘oh fair enough,’ but he’s on nearly 10 per cent of the salary cap.”


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Along with the Brooks change, Maguire has dropped English import Oliver Gildart, hooker Jacob Liddle, as well as two of the five co-captains in Ken Maumalo and Tyrone Peachey.

Crawley suggested that perhaps more change was needed though to turn the “trainwreck” Tigers around.

“They can’t continue, their management, to ignore what is clearly in front of us all,” he said.

“You watch that game against Cronulla on the weekend and you’re watching a trainwreck, you’re watching a team that is just completely devoid of confidence, spirit — it’s just obvious.

“The club continues to sit there and ignore what’s happening. It’s not fair on what’s going on.”

But Kent believes Maguire has at least taken a step in the right direction.

“Maguire’s answered this week, they’ve got a little bit a cage rattle this week haven’t they?,” he said.

“The positional changes he’s made, to me it’s an indication from the coach that ‘guys, I’ve trusted in you for five weeks and you haven’t delivered, so now we’re going to start changing it up a little bit’.”

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Anasta is hopeful that the Tigers can now get their season on track but is still concerned.

“I hope it triggers something out of all the players on the field and I really hope it’s a good decision. It’s a decision they’ve just had to make because of how poor they’ve been playing,” he said.

“But I’m with Crawls, on the weekend they just looked defeated before the game even started. They’re so far in a hole, I don’t even know how they get out of it. This isn’t going to change anything.”

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Crawley also stressed that the blowtorch is on the players’ performances, not so much Maguire, but despite Maguire being a proven coach sometimes a relationship doesn’t work.

“This isn’t a knock on Michael Maguire because he’s a proven premiership-winning coach at South Sydney and at Wigan in the Super League, so he’s obviously a great coach,” he said.

“But sometimes you just need a circuit breaker.

“Companies go through it with chief executives, they’re just has to be a change to get a different result. You can’t just keep flogging a dead horse and expect to see a difference.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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