Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has warned it may take time for his team to find full cohesion as the side builds on their new combinations.
With several new recruits joining the club in the off-season, as well a number of players switching positions, Maguire said they’ll continue to build as the season progresses.
“Time is the thing that we really need at the moment — we’re growing as a group. We’ve got a few changes, so I know it’s going to take a little bit of time to get cohesion,” Maguire told the Triple M Rush Hour.
“The more games we play, the more we’ll grow together. What I do know about the group is that they’re willing to fight for each other.”
Although Maguire wasn’t impressed by his side’s opening two games of the season, he saw much improvement in their 24-20 win over Newcastle last Sunday and is eager for the Easter Monday clash against the Parramatta Eels.
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“We’ve got two new front rowers in Jimmy Tamou and Zane Musgrove and Stefano [Utoikamanu] joining the team. And then we’ve got Adam in the halves and James Roberts playing in the centres,” Maguire said.
“With Jacob Liddle there at nine and Daine at fullback, we’ve got a new spine coming together.
“I have a lot of belief in this group. We hadn’t had the results we would’ve wanted over the past couple of weeks — and we had some good patches in that Canberra game — but the cohesion in the group is coming together.
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“We played two very good teams in the first two weeks and the pressure that is coming at you compared to what you face all pre-season in your pre-season is different. We’re adjusting to that and working together to be better.”
As much as the win against the Knights was relieving to Maguire, he saw the need for more improvement.
“It was really good to see the boys get a win. It was good for the confidence for the team,” he said.
“We looked a bit clunky there at times, but we’ll keep growing as we go into these games.”
Maguire has been more than pleased with two of his young players to start the season — Laurie and Utoikamanu.
The fullback has been arguably the side's best player to start the season, while the young forward was a standout against the Knights as he scored his first NRL try.
“I knew Daine was a talent, and as a head coach, you’re wondering if he’ll be the real deal. He’s really shown where he’ll fit into this team. He’s another one who is learning the combinations of our spine,” Maguire said.
“Stefano is a great player. He’s young, just a pup learning his trade. He’s just going to improve every time he plays because he’s got players like James Tamou and Joe Ofahengaue around him.
“He’s a sponge, just learning. He’s watching the senior guys and what they’re doing. We’ve got a lot of young guys in this squad and it’s really enjoyable to coach them.”
Match: Wests Tigers v Eels
Round 4 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney