Sport: Wests Tigers in turmoil with Russell Packer and Michael Maguire not on speaking terms, reports - PressFrom - Australia
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SportWests Tigers in turmoil with Russell Packer and Michael Maguire not on speaking terms, reports

10:56  12 june  2019
10:56  12 june  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Wests Tigers in turmoil with Russell Packer and Michael Maguire not on speaking terms, reports© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

An irreparable rift with prop Russell Packer is reportedly a major reason why Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire is poised to immediately sign Parramatta stalwart Tim Mannah.

Packer is carrying a hip complaint and has not been sighted in first grade since round six amid strong suggestions that he and Maguire don't see eye-to-eye.

The tough front-rower was understood to be extremely bitter about Ivan Cleary's departure from the Tigers and clashed with Maguire when he took the reins.

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Maguire described the former Canterbury utility as not only having bought into the club culture, but has forged strong relationships with his teammates. “I feel privileged to captain a club with history as rich as Wests Tigers , and to be recognised in this way by my teammates and coaches is truly humbling.”

New West Tigers coach Michael Maguire has already lost his CEO after the NRL deregistered Justin Pascoe. Maguire had knocked back the Manly job prior to joining the Tigers . He was also interviewed about taking over from Wayne Bennett at the Broncos before he switched roles with

Maguire is renowned for conducting unrelenting pre-season training sessions and Packer is said to have challenged the hardened mentor's methods over the summer.

The pair's relationship has apparently only deteriorated since, with The Daily Telegraph journalist Dean Ritchie revealing they are no longer on speaking terms.

According to Ritchie, Mannah's expected arrival only confirms that Packer and fellow New Zealand international forward Ben Matulino are not in Maguire's plans.

"What it does clearly show to me is that Ben Matulino and Russell Packer are on the nose big time at Concord," Ritchie told the Big Sports Breakfast.

"For the fact Michael Maguire has brought in a 31-year-old veteran [Mannah] and virtually told him that he's above the other two, who are languishing with injury and in reserve grade.

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Maguire already has out-of-favour forwards Russell Packer and Elijah Taylor on his books. James Hooper revealed that the Tigers were attempting to Josh Reynolds, Russell Packer , Elijah Taylor, Chris McQueen and even Ben Matulino and Moses Mbye have all been mentioned at rival clubs.

Wests Tigers forward Russell Packer speaks with the media ahead of his side's Round 21 clash against the Newcastle Knights on Friday night.

"Packer and Maguire have fallen out ... They virtually, as I understand, don't talk.

"Both [are] very strong-willed personalities."

And Ritchie believes there is little hope of Packer and Maguire reconciling.

"As we know, if you're off with Madge, you're off with Madge and there's not a whole lot you can do to come back into the good books," he said.

Packer is reportedly on close to $700,000 a season with a contract that runs until the end of 2021.

But while Maguire might be keen to offload the 29-year-old early, Ritchie believes Packer will dig his heels in – even if he has to play reserve grade.

"A bloke close to Packer yesterday told me he's not going anywhere. He said, 'This bloke's been in jail – he won't be intimidated by Madge Maguire'," Ritchie said, referencing Packer's 12-month stint in prison for assault.

"If he's on 700 [thousand], he'll just sit there and cop his 700."

Wests Tigers in turmoil with Russell Packer and Michael Maguire not on speaking terms, reports© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited #Russell Packer

Rumours abound that Maguire is set to put the broom through Concord, having inherited a team largely assembled by Cleary.

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The Tigers eventually drew up a shortlist of candidates to replace Cleary. That list included Maguire , Wayne Bennett, Trent Barrett, Kevin Walters and Adam O’Brien. Gould always in demand. Speaking of Gould, there were reports on Wednesday night linking him to a potential job at the Cronulla Sharks.

Wests Tigers forward Russell Packer . Packer continues to impress on his road to redemption, providing a steel and toughness that will be Michael Maguire did it Wigan when he went over there as well. I found it interesting when they did it but it's not something I thought about doing until this year.

Packer, Matulino, Josh Reynolds and captain Moses Mbye are among the names claimed to be on the outer.

"[Maguire's] got about $3 million of players who aren't performing," Ritchie said.

"It's a mess at the moment, their roster and salary cap."

Maguire attempted to cool chatter about a cleanout at the club when he spoke to media on Wednesday.

"You'll always have discussions around your list but those boys have contracts, so at the end of the day they are contracted with this club," Maguire said.

"There are others off contract, so there'll be chatter around that too. It's part of the arena we live in.

"For me, if we apply ourselves and the players put themselves and the team in a good position then all this chatter goes away.

"I don't see it [unrest in the squad]. If you come to our training sessions, you'll see this team evolve and grow.

"I've been around for a while and if they keep up some of these high standards on the training field, it'll transfer to the park."

Benji Marshall earns Kiwis recall in squad to face Tonga.
It has been seven years since he represented his country.

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