After getting an up close look at his team from the sideline during the second half of Saturday’s 38-16 loss to Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire believes they can still make the finals.
The Tigers remain in ninth and are four points behind eighth-place Cronulla with five rounds remaining but Maguire refuses to give up on his team after an encouraging second-half performance.
Training 20-0 at half-time, the Tigers scored two quick tries to reduce the Roosters lead to just eight points before the score blew out in the final 12 minutes.
“There were passages throughout that game where we showed we can mix it with the best,” Maguire said. “We just need to do it for long periods of time. If we can do that it puts us in the picture.”
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Roosters
Maguire had never watched his team play from the sideline previously but after half-time he decided to leave the coach’s box at Leichhardt Oval.
The move coincided with an improved performance by the Tigers, who are expected to he boosted by the return of boom hooker Harry Grant for next weekend’s clash with competition leaders Penrith.
“I’ve always wanted to go down on the sideline and see what it is like and tonight I thought why not,” Maguire said.
Liddle goes himself from dummy half
“It was just more myself getting a feel of what was going on in the team and I could really feel the momentum within the group when you are sitting on the sideline.
“You can feel your halves combine and you can hear the chatter about what is going on. I quite enjoyed it. You are down there with the players and you could feel the impact of what they are going through.
"They gained some momentum in the second half and then we just unfortunately gave it away so we need to be better.”
Maguire said the Roosters were the yardstick that the Tigers were aspiring to reach and he admitted the scoreline showed how far they have to go.
“You could probably see tonight that there is a gap,” he said. “We have just got to continually close that gap in everything that we do across the organisation.
"I have been at the club for just under two years and everything around the team is growing quickly.
“I really understand where the club is at and so do the players. They are putting in a lot of time and effort to build the Wests Tigers to where the current premiers are at so we have just got to stay at it.”