‘Bitterly disappointed’ Pascoe opens up on Tigers exit

Recently-departed Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has lifted the lid on his exit, claiming the club is well-placed for NRL success following his eight-year tenure.

In one of the biggest overhauls in club history, the entire board were dismissed last week – including polarising chairman Lee Hagipantelis – while Pascoe opted to step down from his position as chief executive officer.

After serving the club for almost a decade and overseeing disastrous on-field results and multiple coaching changes, Pascoe admitted in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald that he sympathises with the long-suffering fanbase.

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“For eight years I’ve felt the frustrations of the fans and our partners and there’s no one more bitterly disappointed than me … it burns every time we lose a game,” he said.

“I understand the frustration. People are entitled to their own opinion.

“The only thing I will say, while it doesn’t affect me, my concern was more about the staff at the club and my family. It’s never nice. It’s passion. It’s sport. I get it.

“The club is in a position that’s far better than it has ever been in my lifetime in regards to development and talent, rosters, coaches. The fans and partners who have stuck solid by the club for a long time should be really comfortable the club will have success.

“The passion the fans have, when the club is successful this year, they will turn it from disappointment to excitement.”

After two-straight wooden spoon seasons, Benji Marshall will officially take over as head coach heading into 2024, bringing his rugby league career full circle.

The premiership-winning playmaker burst onto the scene as a teenager for the Tigers, helping them to the title in 2005 and becoming one of the most beloved figures in the joint-venture’s history.

Pascoe believes the 38-year-old has all the tools to become a successful head coach in the NRL and backed him for success.

“I have the upmost respect for Benji as a player … he’s a generational player and superstar of the game,” he said.

“I’ve got zero questions on his ability. I think he will be outstanding for the club. He has a demonstrated a willingness to work and learn

“He’ll have an outstanding career and I wish him all the very best to do that.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the SMH, Pascoe also backed the club in their pursuit of Jarome Luai, labelling the Penrith superstar as an “absolute winner”, while also conceding Ivan Cleary’s controversial decision to walk out of Concord and return to the Panthers as “understandable”. 

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