Maguire denied Reynolds and Mbye a title but they love him anyway

Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds signed with Wests Tigers eager to play under then-coach Ivan Cleary.

Both players had come from the Bulldogs and were adept to handling the intensity and passion of former coach Des Hasler.

Now they have another kind of intensity to deal with in new Tigers mentor Michael Maguire.

He was the man that orchestrated a fair bit of heartache for Reynolds and Mbye as he guided South Sydney to defeat the Bulldogs convincingly 30-6 in the 2014 Telstra Premiership grand final. Mbye played hooker and Reynolds partnered Trent Hodkinson in the halves that day.

But for both players, Maguire has won them over with his demeanour and the details of his coaching CV, headed by the fact he's the New Zealand Test coach after winning two premierships: one in the NRL and another in the Super League.

"He's a great coach. He's a family man, he's got kids, he likes to go to the beach, likes doing normal things," Mbye said.

Wests Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
Wests Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"But this is the job he loves. He applies himself the best he can and loves working hard. He's had success by working hard.

"When you get a coach with the credentials and experience that Madge has, you buy into it. You know it works because he's got the blue print for success."

Maguire was Craig Bellamy's assistant at Storm in the 2007 and 2009 NRL grand final wins.

He moved to England and coached Wigan to the 2010 Super League premiership, and the 2011 Challenge Cup final win over Leeds.

Maguire then returned to replace John Lang at South Sydney and guided the Rabbitohs to the 2014 title.

Tigers Moses Mbye.
Tigers Moses Mbye. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"No one wins two premierships off guessing. You don't just fluke two premierships. You've got to win them," Mbye said.

"He's a very good guy, he's very caring about his players off the field as well as on it. Everyone is enjoying his company."

Reynolds and Mbye concede the Cleary and Maguire tenures have a distinctively different feel about them.

"They are completely different people. I think everyone knows how laid back a character Ivan is. But Madge can be that laid back as well," Mbye said.

"He keeps you on your toes though. He offers a challenge and challenges keep you coming back."

Reynolds thinks that in the short time he's had with Maguire – the 2019 pre-season – he's picked apart his game a little and is re-assembling it in a good way.

You don't just fluke two premierships.

Moses Mbye on Michael Maguire

"Under Madge I feel I’m turning much more into a ball player than I’ve ever been," Reynolds said.

"I’m putting real emphasis on creating space for someone else, rather than for myself. And that’s not me being selfish it was that if I saw a hole, I’d go for it.

"And now it’s more about opening up that hole for someone else and score a try off the back of it. Madge has been pretty happy with the way I’ve been doing that. If that’s what I’ve got to do to give what’s best for the team then I’ll do that."