Frustrated Tigers’ chairman Lee Hagipantelis has called Luke Brooks’ recent criticism “tantamount to bullying”.
Hagipantelis said he was “disheartened” with the Tigers’ 0-5 start to the season, their worst in club history.
The Tigers chairman also dismissed club chief executive Justin Pascoe’s mid-season vacation was a “storm in a teacup”.
Brooks has consistently copped his fair share of criticism throughout his tenure at the Tigers, however Hagipantelis believes enough is enough.
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“If it was in an employment environment, it would be tantamount to bullying,” Hagipantelis stated.
“The level of focus and attention on Luke I think is unwarranted and unhealthy. We speak often about welfare issues in the game. The level of scrutiny and criticism, I think, has been excessive.
“Luke has got a lot stronger intestinal fortitude than I have in the way he has dealt with all of this negative publicity and negative attention.
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“I appreciate the importance of his role and the fact he’s a leader within the organisation and club and he is a footballer of exceptional ability and talent. I’m aware of the concerns with respect to fulfilment of that potential, we hear this.
“But from a club’s perspective, he has our full support. He is a Wests Tigers junior, is a one-club man and we’d love to see it remain like that and we’re certain it will. He is one member of a team and all the team accepts responsibility for the results.
“I thought he was incredible the way he stood there and explained himself and conducted himself so professionally at his media conference. It was a real credit to the young man.”
Hagipantelis wasn’t shying away from the reality of the situation, admitting the club hasn’t had the start they wanted.
“Zero and five is the worst start to a season in our history. That can’t be denied and there is no point sugar-coating it,” Hangipanteelis said.
“We are all under the pump and are all feeling the pressure at the moment and correctly so but we will not be influenced and we don’t respond to outside noises, which is largely irrelevant for our purposes.”
The Tigers face the high-flying Eels on Easter Monday at CommBank Stadium.
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