NRL blowouts are exposing teams that did not work hard enough on their fitness during the coronavirus shutdown, Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire says.
The new six again rule rushed in last week has come under the spotlight after a string of lop-sided scorelines since its introduction.
It’s a trend that continued with Sydney Roosters crushing Brisbane 59-0 on Thursday and Penrith dispatching the Warriors 26-0 on Friday night.
But Maguire has all but rejected the popular theory ahead of the Tigers’ Sunday clash with Gold Coast in Brisbane.
The Tigers mentor claimed the routs indicated who had remained focused on training in isolation during the NRL’s eight week hiatus – and brutally highlighted those who had not.
“We’ve got a few blowout scores at the moment. Is it because of the new rules or is it because of the COVID time when players were away working on their own,” he said.
“Some teams are getting reward for work that they have done during that time.
“Fitness levels are definitely playing a part hence the reason we are probably getting a few blowout scores.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Warriors mentor Stephen Kearney have been vocal about the six again rule’s impact on the game, saying the resulting defensive fatigue and free flowing matches would lead to more routs.
But Maguire did not believe it was the main factor, pointing to his own team as an example.
The Tigers kept working hard, overcoming a halftime deficit to finally overpower Cronulla 28-16 in their last round win to move to a 2-1 record ahead of their Titans clash.
“We are finding out about (that) from my team. I am happy how they worked hard throughout that (isolation) time to make sure they came back the best they could be,” he said.
“I am sure teams will get rewards off the back of that through these early periods of the season.”
The Tigers will be out to show off their fitness again when they line up against the battling Titans.
The joint venture are aiming to win their opening three away games of the season for the first time – and extend the Gold Coast’s woeful losing streak.
Gold Coast are approaching a year without a win, losing 14 straight.
They last savoured victory on June 9 last year when they beat Brisbane at Sunday’s venue – Suncorp Stadium.