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Tigers, Madge back Reynolds, Packer after 'open apology'

Wests Tigers veterans Josh Reynolds and Russell Packer have "apologised openly" to club hierarchy for their half-time walkout on the weekend as Michael Maguire defended their commitment  to the joint-venture club.

Reynolds and Packer are not expected to face sanction over the headline-grabbing incident out of the Tigers' stunning 34-32 comeback win over Manly, with the matter addressed by club management on Monday afternoon.

Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis told NRL.com that Reynolds and Packer had expressed "genuine remorse" for their actions and that he personally accepted their apology.

Maguire also said the pair's efforts on the training paddock are a better reflection of their standing at Concord, a view endorsed by teammates Elijah Taylor and Luke Brooks.

"They apologised openly," Hagipantelis said, with the Tigers board now to determine whether any punishment over their behaviour is handed down.

"They were genuinely remorseful and did not mean any disrespect.

"They've been told such conduct is not acceptable and it's not in line with the culture we're trying to grow here and they readily acknowledged that.

"It was a momentary lapse in judgment, and we've made it very clear that it wasn't acceptable."

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Packer and Reynolds sat in the Tigers dug-out at Lottoland until halftime when the joint-venture trailed 20-12, before Packer watched the rest of game on his phone in his car because an arthritic condition in his foot is exacerbated by the cold.

Players outside the game-day 17 were not required to attend the game and other members of the Tigers' extended squad did not.

Maguire was understandably disappointed the pair's halftime exit dominated the aftermath of an inspiring win.

The Tigers coach said while the optics of the incident were concerning, the actions of Reynolds and Packer did not reflect a "disconnect" within the playing group.

Both senior players have been shopped to rivals for 2021 but have garnered little interest elsewhere in the NRL.

"Where we are now is that we’ve all been living in a bubble and that’s 24/7," Maguire told NRL.com.

"We understand each other’s frustrations. So obviously what happened is not the look we’re after. So look at the signs on the field to see what the group is about.

"That’s one of the better wins I’ve had at this club from a resilience point of view because that was a great example of how we want to be as a team – fighting to the end of the 80th minute.

"If you see Josh and Russ train each day as hard as they do you’d know there’s no disconnect at this club. I also can see why it looks that way from the outside."

Much has been made of Maguire's coaching style as the Tigers remain only a mathematical chance of ending a finals drought that stretches back to 2011.

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NRL.com understands that the Tigers will look to extend Maguire's contract for another season beyond 2021 over the coming off-season in an emphatic endorsement of his methods, with Maguire backing the playing group's commitment to his cause.                                             

"It’s part of the change in what we’re building here and the players, I can assure you, have been working extremely hard on trying to lift the standards of what we’re doing," Maguire said.

"Obviously there’s chatter around what people perceive.

"But me, my staff and players are on the inside and I credit the players in how they’re going about their training. I’ve got a group that all wants to improve."

Taylor, who spent time at the Warriors and Penrith before his six years at Wests Tigers, is the latest player to endorse Maguire as the man to lift the Tigers up the ladder.

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"He’s exactly what this club needs – a hard-nosed approach, training hard," Taylor said.

"Ripping in the last two years have probably been my hardest training years that I’ve done to be honest. Anthony Griffin comes in a close second. He’s very similar.

"So very tough pre-seasons. But that’s what he had at Souths and at Wigan and they had great success. So you keep believing in the process and things will turn around."

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem as though Taylor will be there to go full circle. The three final games for the 2020 club season look like being his last in Tigers colours.

The 30-year-old has not had any discussions with the club about extending his time at Concord Oval but he would like to keep playing in the NRL and has had interest from other sides.

"I can’t talk about it, but yes," Taylor said on the possibility of his NRL career resuming elsewhere.