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NRL 2020: Emotional Joey Leilua to bounce back from 'dog shot'

NRL 2020: Emotional Joey Leilua to bounce back from 'dog shot'

Wests Tigers back Joey Leilua was almost in tears when he apologised to teammates for his “dog shot” on Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards.

Leilua will spend four weeks on the sideline after his late high tackle on Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards that has been widely hailed a “dog shot”.

The woeful tackle bitterly disappointed coach Maguire, who delivered a frank conversation to his marquee signing.

Tigers winger David Nofoaluma revealed a remorseful Leilua fought back tears as he vowed to restore his teammates’ faith.

Nofoaluma hopes the suspension inspires his fellow outside back to remove the “mental breakdowns” from his game.

“Joey was very upset about it (the tackle),” Nofoaluma told The Daily Telegraph.

“He was almost in tears and you could see that he knew that he did the wrong thing.

“Madge had a serious conversation with Joey, and he apologised to us after the game.

“That is a personal thing for him, and he just needs to sort that out himself.

“We as players can only control what we can, and Joey can do the same for himself.

“He is a great player and built a combination through the pre-season and we just started moulding, so it is very disappointing for myself not to have him in the squad, but it gives Joey an opportunity to train and appreciate it when he gets back to not have those mental breakdowns.”

Nofoaluma knows what it is like to cop some classic Maguire honesty.

He experienced his frank approach last season when he spent the first part of the season in the reserve grade ranks.

Nofoaluma admitted the entire Tigers’ squad didn’t know how to take Maguire’s brutal approach when he first joined the club last season.

“Even myself, I was really taken aback,” he said.

“He is a real tough coach and if he says something you can’t take it to heart.

“But at the start when he first told me something I was like, ‘Oh, this bloke is hard’.

“I didn’t play at the start of last year, but in the end it made sense because he was just trying to get the best out of me.

“Now players understand where Madge is coming from.

“If he says something isn’t good enough then you just have to say fair enough, and I’ll just work my way back into the team.

“You have to respect that from Madge given what he has achieved at previous clubs.”

Tigers captain Moses Mbye was disappointed with Leilua’s late tackle on Edwards, but he is confident the former Raiders centre will bounce back.

“Hindsight is always a great thing, but Joey probably let the emotion get to him a little bit,” Mbye said.

“Those things happen in football and you get a bit overwhelmed and you come up with the wrong decisions.

“It will be a good lesson for Joey. He knows what he has done wrong, and now he has got to watch us play for four weeks.

“It will be hard for him, but I’m sure he will come back a better player and guy.”