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No 'guarantee' but Maguire's job not on the line: Tigers chairman

Wests Tigers chair Lee Hagipantelis says he is unable to "guarantee" Michael Maguire's future at the joint-venture but denied an early termination is being considered after their disastrous start to the season.

Hagipantelis told on Sunday he was shocked by a Sydney Morning Herald report of high-level meetings being planned to discuss Maguire's tenure after a dismal 40-6 loss to Manly, and insisted no formal review is being launched.

Tigers powerbrokers are frustrated and at a loss over the 1-6 start to 2021 despite significant roster improvements over the summer.

Asked if he could guarantee Maguire will see out the two years left on a new deal signed only last December Hagipantelis said: "I can’t guarantee that the sun will come up tomorrow.

"After 33 years as a lawyer I know I can't use the word guarantee. You can’t guarantee anything. But there's no conversation about the coach.

Wests Tigers: Round 7

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"I've spoken with CEO and football manager tonight and it's been communicated to Madge. It's just not on our agenda, it's not a conversation for us, it's all external to the club.

"He's contracted here and I see no reason why he won't [see out his deal]."

A Tigers statement released later on Sunday evening said the club "can vehemently deny there are crisis meetings being held".

You can’t guarantee anything. But there's no conversation about the coach.

Lee Hagipantelis

Since Maguire took over in 2019 the Tigers have insisted he is the man to end the longest current finals drought in the NRL, with his extension last year just the second time a coach has been re-signed in the club's tumultuous 21-year history.

Hagipantelis spoke to the mood widely held at Concord given the optimism around this year's campaign, with Maguire as frustrated as anyone by a series of heavy losses that already has them consigned to missing yet another finals series.

Sunday's drubbing from the Sea Eagles leaves the Tigers with just one win from the opening seven rounds and the worst defence in the competition conceding 31.1 points a game.

"How do you fix it? That's the $64,000 question isn't it? Hagipantelis said.

"I don't know, if you ask me what the problem is. We've substantially improved our roster.

"Our recruitment and retention, there's no doubt we've improved there. But we're not getting the results that we all want. It's the entire club's responsibility, and we're one-in, all-in." understands Maguire's current contract contains a clause that would limit the cost of a pay-out should the Tigers decide his position is untenable.

But while the club has insisted repeatedly that Maguire's position is safe, there is undoubted upheaval planned with former skipper Moses Mbye given permission to explore the market, ongoing conjecture around Luke Brooks's position and Jackson Hastings the latest recruit in a spree that has seen James Tamou, Daine Laurie, James Roberts, Joe Ofahengaue and Stefano Utoikamanu signed in the past six months.

For all the roster changes and salary cap adjustments the Tigers have only gone backwards though, with Maguire's frustrations palpable after the Manly defeat.

"We can see the team they're capable of [being] but it's those ebbs and flows of the game that we just don't handle. Last week we did, this week we didn't," he said.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles

"We're building. We've changed a little bit of what we've probably done over the last six months or eight months with where we're taking the team.

"We've had to look at our recruiting and we've looked at our roster and we're bringing in some younger guys that will learn how to handle those things. We need to learn how to do that very quickly because we're representing everyone within the club.

"You can see that we've got some good talent coming through, but we need to be able to handle those games and learn how to do that."

Maguire was fuming over his side's lack of mental fortitude in their blowout loss to the Sea Eagles.

The Tigers led 6-0 after almost half an hour at Bankwest Stadium on Anzac Day but collapsed spectacularly as they conceded three tries within five minutes leading into half-time.

Maguire hinted at changes being made to the line-up for next week's clash with the Dragons.

"I'll make the right decisions with what we have available," Maguire said.

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic ran riot to consign the hosts to their fourth straight defeat despite things looking promising last round when they pushed the Rabbitohs to golden point.

Maguire said the Tigers must figure out how to hang tough when momentum shifts against them.

Leilua crawls his way to the first try

The coach is confident the Tigers can "turn into a very strong team" if they consistently produce the effort they displayed against heavyweights South Sydney and Parramatta.

"We have a very strong group underneath coming through too. I've got some really good performers there."

Strike centre Joey Leilua may not be elevated back into the NRL side, however, after injuring the base of his thumb playing for Western Suburbs against the Sea Eagles in the NSW Cup clash.

Leilua will have scans but the Tigers don't think he's done major damage.

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