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Sport Maguire's shock shake-up draws support

13:51  12 may  2021
13:51  12 may  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

What does Eric Bailly's new deal mean for Manchester United's defence?

  What does Eric Bailly's new deal mean for Manchester United's defence? Eric Bailly, 27, struggles for game-time behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof and with talk of a summer arrival, his chances looked set to be even more remote until he signed a new contract.There he was on Monday afternoon, pen in hand, signing a new contract to stay at Old Trafford through until 2024.

The decision of Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire to shift in-form playmaker Adam Doueihi from five-eighth to the centres for Magic Round took many by surprise, but rugby league guru Phil Gould has backed the call.

Maguire has moved Doueihi from five-eighth despite the fact the 22-year-old has arguably been the best of the Tigers during their underwhelming start to the season.

The 2014 Rabbitohs premiership coach moved Joey Leilua from left centre to right centre, slid Doueihi from the No.6 jumper to left centre and dragged Moses Mybe from right centre to five-eighth.

Gould acknowledged Doueihi's promising start to his first season in the halves, but the former NSW Blues coach said the team Maguire had picked for Magic Round was strong.

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a man holding a football ball: Wests Tigers star Adam Doueihi on the attack. © Getty Wests Tigers star Adam Doueihi on the attack.

"I actually don't mind the look of the team. I actually don't mind Mbye at five-eighth. I think he's a really good player, I've always had a good opinion of this kid and I've always felt that he was a running five-eighth and a good defender. He's a tremendous young man," Gould told Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

"Now I know Adam Doueihi is going particularly well, and I know he and (fullback) Daine Laurie are doing great, but they're not winning many and they're getting behind a lot.

"The coach has got to make some change-ups to get a better chemistry or a better defensive effort.

"They scored 28 (points) and still got beaten (by the Titans on Saturday), so they've got to find a way to defend better, and perhaps he just doesn't have a centre as good as Doueihi, who has a reputation of being able to play that position and play it well, and Mbye must give them a left-footed kicking game, which they haven't got.

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a close up of a football player: Wests Tigers weapon Moses Mbye tries to muscle through a tackle. © Getty Wests Tigers weapon Moses Mbye tries to muscle through a tackle.

"Now, it's easy to criticise what he (Maguire) has done, but where they are on the ladder and the way they're playing - he's entitled to do what he wants with the team.


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"When I look down the team list I actually don't mind the look of the team this weekend. I think it's a team that can win."

Maguire also named 21-year-old half Jock Madden on the bench, perhaps indicating the pressure weighing down on maligned multimillion-dollar No.7 Luke Brooks had increased.

But Gould says he doesn't expect Maguire to hand Madden the starting halfback role and demote Brooks to the bench between now and Thursday night's clash with the Knights.

"I think if he was going to make a major decision like dropping Luke Brooks he would have to man up and do it from the start of the week and make that decision, as he has done with Doueihi and Mbye," Gould said.

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Luke Brooks wearing a uniform: Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks throws a pass. © Getty Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks throws a pass.

"You might be a little bit on the money there that at some stage this kid (Madden) is going to get a run and Luke Brooks might be replaced. (Naming Madden on the bench) could be a big stick hanging over Luke Brooks to lift his game.

"Now, I don't know that the threats are going to do Luke Brooks any good, because I think Luke Brooks tries his heart out. I think he's a talented young player and I think he tries his heart out, but it's hard to win with that side."

The Tigers won just two of their first nine games of the season, against the Knights and Dragons, and are reeling in second-last on the ladder.

They haven't played finals footy since finishing fourth in 2011 and crashing out in the semi-finals, leaving the joint-venture club with the longest current finals drought.

Maguire signed a two-year contract extension in December 2020, tying himself to the Tigers until the end of 2023.

But as is often the case in rugby league, he won't survive the length of the deal if results don't begin to turn.

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Harry Maguire looks a better player without playing this week .
Sometimes players prove their worth to a team by not playing and Maguire's absence during a hectic three days has only served to underscore his importance to United. It's a charge often levelled at Maguire that he is not an £80million defender - as if he decided his own transfer fee - but he's looked worth every penny this week.As Gary Lineker tweeted during Thursday's 4-2 Liverpool defeat: 'Sometimes people don't realise how good you are until you're not playing. @HarryMaguire93 is a case in point. @ManUtd looking shambolic defensively, with an without the ball, in his absence.

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