Michael Maguire breaks silence on Wallabies, Eddie Jones approach


“I love the combat of the game. I know rugby union has similar attributes, but rugby league is where I want to be at the moment.

“Whether Eddie and I cross paths in the future, only time will tell. At the end of the day, I’m very hungry to win a competition and that’s what I’ve set out to do.”

Michael Maguire won’t be defecting to rugby.

Michael Maguire won’t be defecting to rugby.

Maguire played alongside Stuart at the Raiders and the pair have remained close since. Which is why Maguire informed the former halfback of the union approach and assured him he would fulfil his obligations.

“He was well and truly aware,” Maguire said. “That’s part of being a strong team, you need to be open and honest with the people around you. I’m very appreciative of what ‘Stick’ has done in giving me an opportunity here.

“With Stick, I’m really enjoying working with him. Being away for 15 years, the whole place has transformed. It’s a different feel down here in the community; you can feel the hunger for the Raiders. It feels a bit like the early ’90s. Getting back to that success would be very nice.”

Stuart lauded Maguire’s loyalty and predicted he would soon return to NRL head coaching.

“That shows the character of the bloke,” Stuart said. “I’m sure it would have been an attractive offer, but he has many years left as rugby league coach.

“I’ve got not doubt that Madge will be a head coach in the NRL again; I believe it won’t be too far away. I’ve known Madge for a long time, he’s a good person and we have very similar thoughts in regards to coaching.

“He will coach NRL again, which is why it was a very smart decision not to jump across to rugby union. He’s just having a break from the head coaching role and freshening up to go again.”

Eddie Jones has missed his target in Michael Maguire.

Eddie Jones has missed his target in Michael Maguire.Credit:Getty

Maguire is one of the few coaches to have won premierships in both hemispheres. The former Rabbitohs mentor said he was a better mentor for the challenges he encountered at Wests Tigers and that his ultimate ambition was to again become an NRL head coach.

“Yep, that’s what I have set out to achieve, that’s the hunger of where I am as a coach at the moment,” he said.


“It’s been enjoyable to get back to the basics in where I started in coaching [with the Raiders position]. When you look at the fine detail, it’s actually beneficial not to have to steer an organisation at this current moment.

“That’s allowed me to focus on the players and the way the game is being played. That will help me long term with what I want to achieve as a head coach again.”

While the prospect of being involved in a Rugby World Cup held appeal, his focus is on winning a World Cup as coach of the Kiwis.

“I’m very hungry in that space as well,” he said. “I’ve got an outstanding group of men in that Kiwi team, it hurt quite a bit to [be eliminated in the semi-final stage by eventual champions Australia].

“In three years time, the opportunity to go back and have another crack at that is a big driving force in what I want to do in rugby league.”

Stream the NRL premiership 2023 live and free on 9Now.


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