Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire can’t fathom the criticism his halfback cops but says the saving grace is that Luke Brooks always has the chance to change what people say.
He likely did that on Friday night, orchestrating a 36-18 defeat of Newcastle that the coach hopes is the new standard for the under-pressure club and playmaker.
Brooks scored the opener then used his kicking and passing game to have a hand in almost all of their six tries, Adam Doueihi and Mose Mbye also impressing after the pair’s controversial positional switch.
It moved them to 3-7 for the season and temporarily halted criticism after five losses from their last six games.
“He was (great) and I hope people realise that I can’t believe how much one player can get hammered,” Maguire said of Brooks.
“He doesn’t miss all the tackles … it’s crazy, but to Brooksy’s credit (he doesn’t let it get to him).
“We (can) back it up again and get to change what people say so let’s back it up.
“We’re one week away from being applauded again and one week of the other (being criticised).”
Maguire said his decision to shift the in-form Doueihi from five-eighth to centre and move Mybe into the No.6 was made to further exploit Doueihi’s running game.
Doueihi, who starred with two tries and several try assists, admitted he was disappointed to be moved from his preferred position.
“But Madge (Maguire) spoke to me, said we weren’t getting the results and wanted to move things around so I put my head down,” he said.
“I thought Brooksy and Moses really stepped up … it worked well for us today.”
Doueihi said he understood Brooks copped the most heat for their poor form because he’s the long-serving halfback.
“I don’t think it’s fair on him, but he doesn’t look into it too much and tonight was his best game of the season,” he said.
“Really impressed to be honest, I’m a bit different like that, bit angrier and he’s a calm factor and his care factor for the group is right up there.
“We knew we had to start winning some games but if we don’t back it up next week it means nothing.”