“I’m not too proud to admit that the club hasn’t got value for money out of me. The reality is the club can’t continue to disappoint the fans, and me leaving helps them start to change that. It gives me an opportunity at a fresh start, which is what I think is best for my footy. I am proud to have played for the Wests Tigers.”
The Tigers, who will pay just over 50 per cent of Mbye’s salary next year, have been heavily scrutinised the past couple of years.
Pressure has fallen squarely on Maguire, with the coach feeling the heat after several big-name misses in the recruitment market. But Mbye said there was plenty to like about what the Tigers are building and urged fans to be patient.
“Everyone talks about the club’s recruitment and focuses on the big players that we’ve missed, but you have to look beneath that. It’s hard to ask fans to be patient given how long they have been waiting to play finals footy, but there are things happening in the background that Madge and Adam Hartigan [general manager] are doing that will set this club up for long-term success.
“Not enough is said about what Hartigan is doing in the background to help this team. I didn’t appreciate that until this trip, I’ve seen first hand how much he does for the team. He’s also been fantastic for me and all the families up here. The club is in good hands with him in his role.
“Adam Doueihi is a future captain of this club. He and Alex Twal are two players they can build the club around. Stefano [Utoikamanu] and Daine Laurie have been outstanding additions. There are definitely things to like, but it may not translate to success overnight. I think fans need to be OK with that, otherwise the club will be pressured into repeating the same mistakes.
“There’s no doubt Madge has had his challenges, and I’d be lying if I said that frustrations haven’t boiled over. But his heart is in the right place. He wants success for the Tigers as much as anyone. People will always have differing views on what is right and wrong, but he believes what he is doing is right. The club has signed him for another couple of years because they believe what he is doing is right.”
The Dragons approached Mbye about making the switch mid-season but instead he will join the club next year alongside recruits Jaydn Su’A, Francis Molo and George Burgess. He said he was open to playing multiple positions at the Dragons.
“During my time at the Bulldogs we had some great clashes with the Dragons and I got to see first hand the passion of their fans. I remember telling myself ‘that’s a club I’d love to play for’,” Mbye said.
“I live in Kogarah Bay in the heart of the St George area. My neighbours are Dragons fans. Even my daughter is a Dragons supporter, born in St George Hospital. Like the Tigers, the Dragons brand is one of the biggest in Australian sport. It’s a proud club that expects success. I’m excited to try and be part of their future.
“When I met Anthony Griffin, I became excited to be part of their journey to find that success. I’ve learnt some valuable lessons at the Tigers that I will take with me, and hopefully there are good times ahead in the red V. There’s a lot to like about their roster, some good signings next year and some quality young kids.
“I don’t know what position I am going to play. I know I’m going over there to be their Mr-Fix-It. I’m comfortable with that. In the modern game it’s a significant position having someone in your 17 that can cover three or four positions. That will be me at the Dragons next year.”
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