Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire insists the pressure is off as his side go in search of their first win of the season against the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday.
The Tigers have got off to a poor start having lost their opening four games. They are the only side in the NRL not to pick up a point and the pressure is mounting. But not so according to Maguire who believes if anything the pressure is off.
That could be down to the fact they face high-flying Cronulla on their own patch. The Sharks sit 3-1 for the season and are a different team under coach Craig Fitzgibbon.
Pressure is off
“We don’t have any pressure,” he told reporters ahead of the game. “What is our pressure? Obviously we’re after the results but I don’t think anyone really gives us a chance anyway.
“For us it’s about going in and working hard for each other and going after what we are after which is a strong performance and a strong game.”
Expectations were high among the supporters going in to the 2022 campaign. The arrival of Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart and co raised hopes for a good season. A first finals appearance in 10 years was the hope but that looks unlikely at this stage.
The Tigers have won just two of the last 12 games under Maguire. So far the powers that be are keeping faith with the under-fire coach. But for how long remains to be seen.
Many pundits and people within the game suggest that the Tigers problems are much more deep-rooted. And changing the coach would not fix them.
The fixture list does not look pretty either. After the trip to Shark Park the Tigers face Parramatta, South Sydney, St George Illawarra and Manly.
Wests can take heart from their last two performances. They were narrow 16-12 and 8-6 defeats against the Warriors and Gold Coast respectively. Hastings is also set to return from suspension next week to give the squad a lift.
Wests Tigers united
Maguire also says his players are completely united and are trying hard to put things right. He cannot fault their effort and says that bodes well for the future.
“I think they’ve shown that over the last month. We had a hiccup up there in Newcastle but the boys are fighting for themselves and fighting for the club,” Maguire added.
“I’m seeing the boys build a really strong bond when you undergo a bit of adversity. We’ve got to get out and fight really hard.”