Wests Tigers chairman claims barrage of criticism aimed at Luke Brooks is ‘tantamount to BULLYING’

Wests Tigers chairman claims barrage of criticism aimed at Luke Brooks is ‘tantamount to BULLYING’ as chief admits there is ‘no point sugar-coating’ terrible start to the season

  • Wests Tigers chairman has leapt to the defence of playmaker Luke Brooks 
  • The 27-year-old has been the subject of criticism for his 10-year stay at the club 
  • Lee Hagipantelis claims barrage of criticism is ‘tantamount to bullying’
  • He also said Justin Pascoe’s mid-season holiday is ‘a storm in a teacup’

Lee Hagipantelis has launched a staunch defence of Tigers star Luke Brooks, claiming that the barrage of criticism aimed the playmaker’s way is ‘tantamount to bullying’. 

Brooks, 27, has been a magnet for criticism during his 10-year stint at Concord, and earlier this season NRL great Michael Ennis urged both parties to part ways and start fresh next year.

The 27-year-old has lost the No 7 jersey this weekend after failing to impress following a positional change, and Tigers chairman Hagipantelis likened the ‘unhealthy’ focus on Brooks to ‘bullying’.

Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has launched a staunch defence of Luke Brooks

‘If it was in an employment environment, it would be tantamount to bullying,’ Hagipantelis said via The Daily Telegraph. ‘The level of focus and attention on Luke I think is unwarranted and unhealthy. We speak often about welfare issues in the game. The level of scrutiny and criticism, I think, has been excessive.

‘Luke has got a lot stronger intestinal fortitude than I have in the way he has dealt with all of this negative publicity and negative attention.

‘I appreciate the importance of his role and the fact he’s a leader within the organisation and club and he is a footballer of exceptional ability and talent. I’m aware of the concerns with respect to fulfilment of that potential, we hear this.

Brooks (right) has attracted criticism throughout his 10-year stint with the Wests Tigers

Brooks (right) has attracted criticism throughout his 10-year stint with the Wests Tigers

Hagipantelis claims that the barrage of criticism aimed at Brooks is 'tantamount to bullying'

Hagipantelis claims that the barrage of criticism aimed at Brooks is ‘tantamount to bullying’

‘But from a club’s perspective, he has our full support. He is a Wests Tigers junior, is a one-club man and we’d love to see it remain like that and we’re certain it will. He is one member of a team and all the team accepts responsibility for the results.

‘I thought he was incredible the way he stood there and explained himself and conducted himself so professionally at his media conference. It was a real credit to the young man.’

Pressure is building on Michael Maguire with the Tigers winless after five games, but a defiant Hagipantelis says the club will not listen to outside noise. 

‘Zero and five is the worst start to a season in our history. That can’t be denied and there is no point sugar-coating it,’ he added.

The Tigers chairman also defended Justin Pascoe, insisting that the CEO is allowed a holiday

The Tigers chairman also defended Justin Pascoe, insisting that the CEO is allowed a holiday

‘We are all under the pump and are all feeling the pressure at the moment and correctly so but we will not be influenced and we don’t respond to outside noises, which is largely irrelevant for our purposes.’ 

Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has been in the spotlight for taking a mid-season holiday despite his side’s terrible run of results, although Hagipantelis believes it is a ‘storm in a teacup’.

‘This is a storm in a tea cup and reflective of where we are at the moment on the ladder. People speak of it being poor optics well optics are in the eye of the beholder.

‘There is nothing I can say or do that would change anyone’s view on the issue but from the board’s perspective it was a holiday that was approved and had been deferred a number of times as I understand by reason of Covid. It’s not an issue.

‘The man is entitled to a break from his family.’

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