‘There was stunned silence in the dressing room’: Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis lifts lid on ‘extremely tough day’ after sacking Michael Maguire – but insists loyal players will NOT follow coach out of the door
- Lee Hagipantelis has lifted the lid on an ‘extremely tough day’ at Wests Tigers
- The NRL strugglers parted ways with Michael Maguire amid a torrid run of form
- Maguire had been at the club for four years and formed a bond with his players
- However, Hagipantelis has refuted claims stars could follow Maguire out
Lee Hagipantelis has played down any concern surrounding a mass exodus at Wests Tigers following an ‘extremely tough day’ in which the under-fire coach lost his job.
Tigers players took part in training at Concord on Tuesday morning before Hagipantelis told Maguire that he would no longer coach the club following an internal review over the past fortnight.
Maguire will receive an $800,00 payout to soften the blow, but the Tigers chairman admitted it had been an emotional day at the club’s headquarters with the players having formed a bond with the coach after four years together.
Lee Hagipantelis has lifted the lid on an ‘extremely tough day’ at Wests Tigers training HQ
‘It’s been an extremely tough day. Tim Sheens, Justin Pascoe and myself broke the news to the players at Concord today and it’s fair to say there was stunned silence in the dressing room,’ Hagipantelis told Fox Sports.
‘They accepted the decision, they understand that it’s a results driven business. They’re all consummate professionals and they were all very respectful in their response.
“It was an emotional thing. A lot of the boys will have no doubt formed an emotional attachment to Madge as a friend as well as a coach.
“These are very difficult decisions. But there was no push backs, no concerns whatsoever, they understood that it was a board decision.
The NRL strugglers parted ways with under-fire coach Michael Maguire on Tuesday
Hagipantelis says players were ‘professional’ in their reaction and insisted none will follow Madge out of the door
‘I’ve no concerns whatsoever with the playing group and it’s the same with Madge.
‘He was the consummate professional, received the news well, we shook hands and there’s no issues there.’
Bulldogs football manager Phil Gould claimed earlier this week that a small group of Tigers players were considering leaving the club alongside Maguire, but the Tigers supremo was quick to refute that suggestion.
‘I don’t accept that at all. These players are contracted to the club and that is not my impression or understanding whatsoever,’ Hagipantelis said.
‘I don’t know where that information comes from but from our perspective there’s nothing to indicate that’s the case.
‘I’m appreciative of other people who’ve been in the game a lot longer than I have and are far more qualified than I am but that information is not any concern for this club.’