Maguire not fazed by heat on Tigers future

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has sidestepped questions about his future at the club, refusing to add fuel to the fire ahead of Sunday's NRL game.

MICHAEL MAGUIRE.
 MICHAEL MAGUIRE. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has sidestepped questions about his future at the club after reports emerged this week he was under pressure to keep his job.

After one win from the opening seven rounds of the NRL season, the heat is on the premiership-winning coach to get the best out of the inconsistent side.

It's understood the rumours emerged from within the club's hierarchy, but Maguire refused to give it fuel when asked if his job was safe.

"I focus on what I need to do," he said ahead of Sunday's clash with St George Illawarra.

"If I buy into all of those different things then it takes my eye away from what we're actually here for.

"I've got a playing group who really cares about what we're doing.

"Are we happy with where we're at? Of course not. We want to be further up.

"But that will come if we keep focusing on what we need to do and that's each individual doing their role and playing their part. That's what we're about."

Earlier this year Maguire became the first coach to be re-signed by the club since Tim Sheens, but after Sunday's 40-6 loss to Manly the attention turned on him in his third season.

Criticisms of Maguire have varied from his tough coaching style being too much for the playing group to his inability to attract high-profile players to the club.

This week players publicly defended Maguire by taking ownership for their own on-field performances, while the ex-South Sydney coach said the young playing group was still learning what it takes to win.

Rising stars Daine Laurie and Jake Simpkin, who re-signed with the club this week, have been two of the club's shining lights this season and Maguire said they needed time to develop.

"We've got a number of younger guys who could be the next stars of the game and that's the process that we're going through," he said.

"All this noise comes off the back of results, but also too it's about understanding where we're at and what we're building here at the club.

"We've got a young group of players who do ebb and flow at stages throughout games and the more they play the better experienced they become and the results start to turn.

"That's why I'm very confident in what we're doing at the moment."

Zac Cini is another young player getting his chance under Maguire with the 20-year-old to make his debut on the wing against the Dragons.

Centre James Roberts has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a pectoral muscle injury, forcing the Tigers to apply for an exemption to play Cini who was not named in the initial 21-man squad on Tuesday.