Joey Leilua copped “the biggest spray I’ve had in my career” from Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire after being banned for his coathanger hit on Penrith’s Dylan Edwards.
Leilua was suspended for four games after decking Edwards off the ball in the final minutes of a tight loss for the Tigers. He was sin-binned for the incident, sealing a 19-12 defeat with the moment of madness.
Maguire’s spray didn’t come immediately after the game but that didn’t save Leilua, who has a long history of self-destruction.
The wayward centre told Nine NRL reporter Danny Weidler – in his Sun Herald column – that the spray was delivered in the coach’s office, yet was so loud that it was still heard by teammates.
Leilua would not divulge exactly what was said, but revealed that Maguire delivered some brutal home truths.
”That’s between me and the coach,” Leilua told Weidler. ”But I can tell you that he was very honest with me. The main thing he told me was that I was not even close to where I need to be to be a professional player; that I am not prepared – not close. He said that I’ve got to learn how to react. And I’ve got to be physically fitter so that I make smarter decisions when I am under fatigue.
”Of course, it’s scary to hear that because I’m worried if he will put me back in the side, but I know he is going to make sure I get flogged [in training]. He is going to make me work hard over the next four weeks. I deserve it. I’ve let the team down.”
Leilua told Weidler that he “blanked out” and had a “brain snap” when hitting Edwards. He was enraged earlier in the second half when his brother, Luciano, was taken from the field injured due to a high tackle from Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau.