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Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe.

In his six months out of the game, Justin Pascoe did things he's always wanted to do, but never had time for.

The man from Melbourne had never picked up a surf board. But once a week for an hour a week, since he was removed from his role as chief executive of the Wests Tigers last December, Pascoe taught himself how to surf.

He stood on the hill at Leichhardt Oval, sat in the stands at Campbelltown, and even paid his own way to watch the Tigers In Melbourne.

He studied. He napped, plenty. His 10-year-old daughter Siena, and son Asher, seven, got used to him being around.

"The kids were very upset to see dad go back to work," Pascoe said.

"But my wife was very happy to see dad go back to work."

For Pascoe, who copped a six month ban for not declaring an ambassador role offered to Robbie Farah three years ago, the pain it caused his family was the hardest to deal with.

"You go through a whole host of emotions," he said.

"Until clarity was established, which wasn't until the 1st of March, that uncertainty provided its own challenges emotionally for me. You have plenty of ups and downs, not just for myself but for the family as well. What people don't probably see is things like how tough it was on my kids. It's splashed across the paper, wrongly or rightly, but my kids were getting comments made to them as well wondering 'why is your dad fired?'.

"They were asking me 'why are you home dad' and 'why aren't you working dad'. You don't want your kids to see you like that or getting upset by what people are saying to them about you. Coming home feeling like they've been chosen out in a school yard, but I realise it's the business we're in. It's a public game and it comes with the territory. But once clarity came and dad was going back to Wests Tigers, things were okay."

Lessons learnt

The Tigers chief executive, who returned to work last Wednesday, is adamant he didn't deliberate go out to cheat.

However he's since realised the error of his ways and how a gesture of goodwill went against the integrity of the game.

"The motivation behind the agreement in the first place was to give Robbie the respect that I felt Robbie deserved being a long-serving servant of the club, a former captain of the club, a premiership winner and the first life member of the club," Pascoe said.

"It's really important for the game to make sure the likes of Greg Inglis, Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall, Billy Slater and your Cooper Cronks are kept in the game in some way. It's the kids who are looking up to these guys and how the game treats them, both from clubs and as a game in general, can determine the paths those kids take in regards to the sport they participate in.

"The lesson learnt clearly is that as an administrator you need to cross and dot everything. In this case it was a process error. There was absolutely no intent to deceit or cheat."

Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.
Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Tigers salary cap predicament

Pascoe returns to work with plenty of question marks over the club's salary cap situation and the money invested in certain players.

He insists he is yet to speak to Maguire about who will or won't be at the club long term, but believes it's the responsibility of the coach to get the best out of his troops, while also trying to improve the quality of his roster.

"In any sporting organisation you are going to have players who are playing to their value, and equally you are going to have players not living up to their value and others playing over their value," Pascoe said.

"It's the job of the coach, his staff and the high performance team to make sure they are getting the most value out of their players. If you sit there and look at every deal in the entirety of football, you are going to do your head in. We have a really strong roster and a really strong coaching staff to get the best out of their roster.

"There's been some discussion and noise in the media around cap challenges. I would argue that when the sanction was handed down in March, and there was a sanction handed down of $320,000 circa, there wouldn't be too many clubs that late in the season that would be able to absorb that sanction without moving players.

"We have got ourselves into a position as a club where we had plenty of room in the cap – that's a testament to how far we've come because two or three years ago we had to clean up the cap mess we were in."

What's next for Robbie and Benji?

Benji Marshall indicated at the start of the year that he would wait until the end of the season to make a decision on his future.

If that's the case, it will likely place plenty of uncertainty around the future of Josh Reynolds. You could hardly blame Reynolds if he wants to move on from the club if he is asked to play second-fiddle to Marshall for another season, however Pascoe insists those conversations haven't occurred.

"That's a discussion that will take place if Benji makes that decision," Pascoe said of Reynolds' future.

"That conversation hasn't happened yet. Josh came to the club for a reason. He's a terrific competitor, he's a terrific young man. He's had no luck with injuries since he's been here. He's a very capable footballer who still adds value to this club.

"Both Robbie and Benji need to be comfortable in themselves moving forward. They'll be given ample time to make that decision, and when they make that decision there will be a conversation that takes place with the club. They need to make that decision themselves, first and foremost."

Benji Marshall celebrates his golden point field goal.
Benji Marshall celebrates his golden point field goal. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Expectation to play finals football

Nothing has changed. The Tigers still believe they have the roster capable of playing finals football in 2019 and it remains the expectation of Maguire to help turn that into a reality.

"There are a whole raft of different KPI's, but in the end we're about winning games and our intent is still to play finals football," Pascoe said.

"We have no reason to think any other way. During my time away I've had a lot of time to read up on certain things and I believe that we need to be ferocious in that intent to be successful. We need a ferocious desire just to win, not using excuses. We're always going to be faced with challenges and problems and not happy with the decisions we sometimes get. But to accept them is accepting mediocrity. We need to recognise problems and find solutions."

Relationship with the NRL

Pascoe has always enjoyed a strong relationship with the governing body and insists nothing will change despite being hit with the six month ban for his involvement in the Farah-ambassador saga.

"I never felt it was personal," he said.

"I always felt Todd (Greenberg) was professional and respectful through the process. They've got a job to do and we respect that. Having integrity in the game is critical. I respect they have to administer the rules and apply interpretation to that when they need to. I understand and respect that personally and as a club. I've had many people from the NRL reach out to me since I came back. Todd specifically reached out and said I'd be welcomed back with open arms. As far as we we're all concerned we move forward now and work collaboratively to make sure we make this club great.

Also, the support the club and the shareholders showed me through that process is something I will repay to them through my loyalty to the club and through what I do for the club. Where I see the club is where I've always seen the club. The fans deserve success."

Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs - Round 15

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Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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