“Brandon is a quality player – any team would love to have Brandon Smith,” Pascoe told the Herald. “But as it stands he is not available until at least 2022, Melbourne have made it clear he won’t be released next year, and we still have three spots to worry about.
“Our main focus, now that ‘Madge’ is done, is re-signing David Nofoaluma. David is happy at the club, we love David, and we’d love to think we can get something done by Christmas.”
One of those vacant spots is being kept for Penrith fullback Daine Laurie, who is already signed with the Tigers for 2022, but remains on a development contract with the Panthers who have spent the past four years developing him and are keen to salvage at least something for their efforts.
Laurie is an electric fullback who has already been hailed as an exciting prospect by several Tigers.
There have been suggestions Laurie and winger Josh Mansour would be free to leave Penrith for the Tigers as a package deal.
Maguire’s signature was quickly celebrated by fans on social media with the notoriously hard taskmaster determined to make the Tigers ruthless winners rather than likeable.
The signing of Joe Ofahengaue, along with the retention of Zane Musgrove – who praised Maguire when discussing the reasons he spurned big-money deals to recommit to the Tigers this week – and Shawn Blore, not to mention possibly Smith from 2022, are exactly the no-nonsense players Maguire loves.
“We have faith in ‘Madge’, he’s bought into what we’re trying to build here at the club, and he’s certainly adding value with his strong value set and competitive desire to win – it’s the perfect mix,” Pascoe said.
Maguire said: “We’ve put a lot of work in over the last couple of years and I’m seeing plenty of change for the club to move forward in a big way. We’re all not happy with where we’ve been and everything we do now is about moving us forward towards a premiership.”
Maguire’s deal will take him through to five years at the helm, which will make him the second-most capped coach behind Tim Sheens at the joint venture. He has the job of ending the club’s finals drought that dates back to 2011.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.