Michael Maguire drops Luke Brooks as chief playmaker and gives Jackson Hastings the top job as he chops and changes in search of first win of 2022
- Maguire had backed Brooks through horrible run of form to start 2022 season
- Now coach has reportedly taken control of the team away from the halfback
- Jackson Hastings will be Wests’ chief playmaker against the Parramatta Eels
Embattled Tigers coach Michael Maguire has reportedly made a huge change to his side by taking the playmaking duties away from Luke Brooks and giving them to Jackson Hastings.
Wests are the only winless side in the NRL in 2022 and turned in a shocking performance as they went down 30-4 to Cronulla on Sunday, increasing the pressure on Maguire and Brooks, who has been harshly criticised for his poor form so far this year.
Hastings made an immediate impact with the Tigers before being suspended for three games over a dangerous throw in the side’s loss to Newcastle in round two.
A dejected Luke Brooks is pictured after the Tigers’ woeful 30-4 loss to Cronulla on Sunday, which appears to have changed coach Michael Maguire’s mind about the half
Now Fox Sports has reported that Maguire is giving control of the side to the five-eighth for their match against high-flying Parramatta on Easter Monday.
The coach has repeatedly defended Brooks during the Tigers’ awful start to 2022, saying the No.7’s ‘commitment to what he does is second to none’ and, ‘I think if anyone can handle it, Brooksy can.’
But it appears Wests’ dismal attacking display against Cronulla – in which they never looked like scoring until Ken Maumalo went over in the 79th minute after taking an intercept – has changed his mind.
The switch doesn’t mean Brooks has been dropped – but it does mean Hastings will decide how to steer the side around the park and get to call the plays.
Jackson Hastings (pictured being tackled against Newcastle in round two) excelled in Britain’s Super League and made an immediate impact with Wests before being suspended
Before coming to the Tigers in the offseason Hastings starred in Britain’s Super League, winning the Man of Steel award as the competition’s best player in 2019 while playing for the Salford Red Devils.
He then scored 13 tries in 46 games for the Wigan Warriors from 2020 to 2021.