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Houston, we have a problem if 36-22 loss is as good as it gets

Most observers agreed that the Wests Tigers played pretty well last Saturday afternoon in going down 36-22 to Manly at Brookvale.

A couple of critical errors led to tries for the home side, and one or two 50-50 refereeing decisions went against the joint venture.

But overall, the team’s performance was judged to be reasonably good.

They also kept fighting until the final whistle, which is another improvement this season.

But if you’re a Wests Tigers fans and a 36-22 loss is as good as it gets, well, Houston, we have a problem.

Numbers don’t lie, either: Wests Tigers are sharing the bottom place on the ladder with three other sides which have also recorded just two wins from their nine games.

Barring a miracle, fans can forget about Wests Tigers playing in the finals for the first time in 11 years.

And, unfortunately, there’s a good chance that the side will finish lower than last year.

Which means that four years after new coach Michael Maguire was brought in the side has gone backwards, on the ladder at least.

Maguire (pictured above at training today), who is no doubt feeling the heat, has just named his 24-man squad for Sunday’s Magic Round match against North Queensland in Brisbane.

Luciano Leilua returns to the side after missing last weekend’s loss to Manly with a hamstring injury.

He slots straight into the back row, pushing Alex Seyfarth to the bench.

Thomas Mikaele has been named as part of the extended squad after failing a HIA test last Saturday.

Other than that, Maguire has named the same side as last week.

The match against Todd Payten’s Cowboys will kick off 6.25pm.

The Wests Tigers side named is:

1.Starford To’a
2. Asu Kepaoa
3. Oliver Gildart
4. Luke Garner
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Luke Brooks
7. Jackson Hastings
8. James Tamou

9.  Jake Simpkin

10. Zane Musgrove
11. Kelma Tuilagi
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Joe Ofahengaue

INTERCHANGE:

14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Alex Twal
16. Alex Seyfarth
17. Stefano Utoikamanu

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