Robbie Farah has issued a riposts to Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire's detractors, denying he's a merciless task master who pushes his NRL players too far.
Maguire has, at times, battled unflattering suggestions about his coaching style throughout his NRL career despite his track record for success.
He helped break South Sydney's 43-year title drought and took New Zealand to a shock Test win over Australia last year, but has still had been painted as too demanding.
After six years at the Rabbitohs, Maguire tok the reins at the Tigers with a reputation for being a relentless disciplinarian and suggestions that led to him losing the Redfern dressing room.
Veteran hooker Farah was at the Rabbitohs in 2017 - in what would prove to be Maguire's final season at the club before he was axed - and he said the 45-year-old copped a bad rap.
"I think (Maguire's reputation) is unfair," Farah told AAP.
"He's a coach that's had success. He's won an NRL grand final and a Super League grand final. He knows what works.
"Success takes hard work, there's no two ways about it.
"You can't just show up, click our fingers and think you're going to have a great year.
"You've got to get in and work hard.
"I think it's what we needed as a group and all the boys have jumped on board.
"To a man, if you ask the boys, they've enjoyed the pre-season under Madge."
Farah and Maguire's paths have crossed again, after the premiership-winning mentor was selected to succeed Ivan Cleary at the joint venture.
Maguire is a well-known fitness fanatic and players who arrive at their Concord Oval headquarters early in the morning are often greeted by the sight of their coach working out in the club gym.
Farah said Maguire's discipline and work ethic are what the club need to end their seven-year finals drought - the longest of any side in the NRL - and deliver them to a period of sustained success.
"I've seen little changes in him," Farah said. "He looks a lot more relaxed.
"If you ask him, his last year at Souths when I went there, he was under a fair bit of strain.
"He's got that passion that's really rubbed off on the whole squad.
"I think he's a coach that can take this club into sustained success over a long time to come."
Australian Associated Press