News Sports

$1.6m Tigers duo’s mid-match walkout

Two Wests Tigers stars reportedly walked out of Brookvale Oval during Saturday evening’s match against the Manly Sea Eagles.As revealed by The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield, five-eighth Josh Reynolds and forward Russell Packer abandoned their teammates at halftime with the Tigers trailing 20-12.According to the report, Reynolds and Packer left the dugout and entered their…

Two Wests Tigers stars reportedly walked out of Brookvale Oval during Saturday evening’s match against the Manly Sea Eagles.

As revealed by The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield, five-eighth Josh Reynolds and forward Russell Packer abandoned their teammates at halftime with the Tigers trailing 20-12.

According to the report, Reynolds and Packer left the dugout and entered their cars, missing their club’s stunning comeback victory in the second half. The Tigers scored three tries in the last 12 minutes of their round 17 fixture to secure an unforgettable 34-32 win.

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

When quizzed about the duo’s disappearance, Tigers coach Michael Maguire conceded he was unaware they had left the ground but also downplayed the issue.

“There’s no hard and fast rule they have to be at games,” Maguire told The Daily Telegraph.

“Russ was our 19th man, and Josh came to be around the boys.

“They didn’t really give me a reason – they just said they were cold and wanted to go home.”

NRL LIVE SCORES: Round 17 match centres

Reynolds and Packer are collectively on a $1.6 million annual salary with the club.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis confirmed the two players were not obligated to attend the match, but admitted it was “not a good look”.

“Russell had to warm up with the team as 19th man, but Josh didn’t even warm up with the team. Both players have acknowledged their action creates a perception, but perception is not reality,” Hagipantelis said on Sunday.

“I have spoken to both of them and they’ve acknowledge it wasn’t a good look. There was no intention on their part to show disrespect or a lack of unity. Russell suffers from an arthritic condition and had multiple surgeries in his foot to try and help him play again. Sitting there in the cold does affect him, that is true.”

On Tuesday, the Wests Tigers confirmed veteran player Benji Marshall would be axed following the 2020 season’s conclusion.

Marshall has managed 13 try assists this season, the most for the Tigers and fourth-highest for the entire competition.

It continues a tough old week for the Tigers with the players at the struggling club’s reportedly confronting Maguire in a heated team meeting on Tuesday, claiming the roster felt as though they were “walking on eggshells”.

Speaking on NRL 360, Fox Sports reporter James Hooper revealed the squad told Maguire his brutal selection process was having a detrimental effect on the players.

“Apparently there was a really heated team meeting at Concord today where Michael Maguire, the way he likes to do business was being very direct and blunt,” Hooper said on Tuesday.

“A couple of the players said, ‘Madge, it’s not working. The way we’re doing things is not working.’

“They all said, ‘We’re walking on eggshells. Everybody’s scared that if you put in one bad performance, you’ll be dropped.’

“Madge has gone around the whole side, and they all said, ‘Yes, I agree, that’s how I’m feeling’.

The Tigers currently sit at ninth spot on the NRL ladder having won seven of their 17 encounters this season. For their next fixture, they will come up against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday evening at Bankwest Stadium.

Leave a Comment