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Maguire: Returning Musgrove can become elite prop

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has declared that Zane Musgrove "can be one of the great front-rowers of the game" ahead of his NRL return on Sunday.

Musgrove has been named against St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium having not played in the Telstra Premiership since 2018.

The 23-year-old sat out last season as the NRL declined to register his Tigers contract amid legal issues.

Musgrove was convicted of assault with an act of indecency in October and sentenced to a 12-month intensive corrections order, with the NRL conditionally registering him in December.

Maguire, who coached Musgrove at the Rabbitohs, said he is "proud" of how the forward has bounced back.

"Unfortunately he hasn't had a lot of luck with injuries and a few other things externally that he's had to work through," Maguire said.

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"But to see his resilience to stay at it, I think that's something I'm very proud of for him.

"He's put his head down and he's got his opportunity again now.

"He's a big body, he can go forward. I'll let him do the talking [with] the way he plays. I think that's something he's focused on, building his game now into what he can become.

"I think he can be one of the great front-rowers of the game. He's just got to make sure he gets on the field and does that consistently."

Maguire said Musgrove's story serves as a reminder that people can better themselves with a second chance.

"Across life you make mistakes at some stage," he said.

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"He's gone away and looked at everything he needs to do to get back in this position.

"And that's why I can say I'm proud of him."

The Dragons clash could well be the last fixture played before a crowd in some time, with stadiums closed to fans from round two until further notice in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Maguire urged Tigers supporters to stick solid and promised the team would give everything in their absence.

"If they're watching at home on the TV, keep cheering, because at some stage they'll be coming back," Maguire said.

"We want to make sure we're in a good position whenever that may be.

"We’ll play whatever's in front of us. This week we'll have a crowd and I know my players really enjoy having the support behind [them from] our members and everyone that's involved, because we do a lot of work in the community.

"At the end of the day, they'll be watching on TV along with their families. So [we're] looking forward to whatever happens."

The premiership-winning mentor said small efforts including kick chase and kick pressure are the keys to beating St George Illawarra, who are looking to make a statement after a poor 2019.