Wests legend Benji Marshall has opened up on a horror season at the Tigers that saw the club extend their finals drought to nine years and their class veteran cut from their roster.
The Tigers won just the seven scalps in 2020 and faced a number of off-field issues, with coach Michael Maguire at the face of several troubling stories.
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Whilst Maguire is a proven premiership coach with the Rabbitohs, his tenure with the Tigers this season has been tumultuous to say the least.
The coach’s strict discipline and “tough love” approach looked to have shattered the playing groups confidence, with Marshall stating his teammates didn’t respond well to the coaching style.
“From a guy like Madge (Maguire) who only knows one way of, ‘we’re going to train as hard as we can, we’re going to get as fit as we can and it doesn’t matter what it takes to get to that, we’re going to build mental toughness’… and I really enjoyed that,” Marshall told NRL 360.
“But I think what’s happened now is the generation has changed where I think the kids are a little bit different these days where individually people need different types of training, or different types of understanding.
“Some people don’t handle tough love, and understanding that is probably the biggest challenge that Madge is going to have for next year.”
Marshall was one of several Tigers not offered a contract past this season and found himself left out of Maguire’s selection on a number of occasions in 2020.
“There was a couple of things this year, like obviously he dropped myself four weeks into the year for five weeks,” Marshall said.
“And I really got a lot out of that because I dug deep into, you know what I’m going to prove to him that he’s wrong, I need to be back in the team.
“But then what happened on the back of that was some people got a fear of ‘am I going to be in the team?’.
“You either respond one way or you respond the other way and I felt like we probably had a lot of guys who got a bit scared of it.
“When the pass is on to go two-on-one they were scared to make that pass or didn’t have that confidence because they were worried if they were going to get dropped the next week or not.
“And obviously the conversation about egg shells came out during the year and that’s what it came from, basically just not having that confidence, so there’s a few things to improve on next year for the Tigers for sure.”
Maguire’s tactics look to have backfired as the club finished the season 11th and remaining in the hunt for a finals return.