The Wests Tigers have slumped to 15th spot on the ladder with just three wins from their opening 12 games but beleaguered coach Michael Maguire insists his club isn’t in crisis and is capable of playing finals in 2022.
The Tigers took a six-point lead into the sheds on Saturday night but capitulated once the Rabbitohs’ left edge found its rhythm in the second 40.
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South Sydney ran six unanswered tries to win 44-18; the Tigers became the first team this season to lose to the Rabbitohs after leading at halftime.
The excuses are running out for the Tigers, who had their first-choice spine on deck for the first time since April.
But Maguire said the second-half horror show hadn’t dispelled his faith and was effusive when asked whether he felt his team could bounce back and into finals contention.
“I do. We can win every game. We’ll roll up every week with the attitude to win every game,” he said.
“We’ll turn it around for sure. There are passages of plays that I’ve said show what our team is capable of. Look at the first half.
“We had some good control in the first half. But in the second half, they just took control and rolled up the back of the ruck and got momentum and then kicked to the corners and just played a real long game.
“They applied the pressure. Obviously, every team is trying to do that but they just did it better than us in the second half.”
Maguire lamented his side’s inability to muscle up when the chips were down.
“It was a disappointing second half,” he said.
“We didn’t roll our sleeves up when we needed to, to be able to win back the momentum of that game.
“Over the last couple of months, there are periods of the games that have hurt us but there’s also some really good passages.
“There were some disappointing tries out there. I’m not going to hide from that and the boys were disappointed themselves. We’ve got to be able to handle that change in momentum and capitalise when the time comes.”
Maguire appeared to liken his side to the 2005 Tigers, who won only five of their first 12 games but surged to premiership glory in the second half of the season.
“The season is still alive,” he said.
“You get a run on, and you can go back in time at this club.
“You just need to have a passage of consecutive wins and I know it is inside this team.”