If now ex-coach Elliott resigned, it was at gunpoint

Last updated 12:00 10/04/2014

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Changes could lessen champions' credibility Ko has plenty of time to become one of the greats Wobbly Marshall let down by dysfunctional Blues Will new faith in Hesson's judgment be justified? If now ex-coach Elliott resigned, it was at gunpoint Player safety is in the hands of those on the field Hurry up and fix the latest scrum debacle Axes being sharpened as coaches feel the heat Fruean has the ticker to be an All Blacks contender Don't be surprised if Smith fires up from the start

There's obviously safety in numbers where dysfunctional NRL teams are concerned.

Play like a bunch of clowns en masse and somehow you're spared the threat of dismissal. It appears that's reserved solely for the poor sod of a coach who can only sit up in his grandstand perch wondering exactly when it was during the previous week's training that he instructed his players to drop balls, miss tackles and perform like talentless hacks.

The only thing predictable about the Warriors is their unpredictability. Like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you rarely have a clue about what you're going to get and unfortunately for now ex-Warriors coach Matt Elliott, he's paid the price. It's doubtful many of the players would have been able to look Elliott in the eye after news of his departure. It appears they were spared any such awkwardness with Elliott's feet barely touching the ground as he made his hasty retreat from Mt Smart earlier this week.

But was he pushed or did he jump? The club says he resigned, although most believe it was at gunpoint.

Not that it really matters. Elliott's gone and Andrew McFadden's assumed responsibility for guiding one of the NRL's most unreliable group of players through to the end of the season.

Thomas Leuluai and skipper Simon Mannering at least had the good grace to deflect some of the blame for Saturday's appalling loss to the previously winless Sharks back onto the players. Leuluai said he was embarrassed by the players' collective efforts, Mannering also sheepishly accepting shared responsibility for his team's meltdown.

Not that it does any Elliott any good - and not that it should be any great surprise for the man who's now played close to 200 games for the club. Mannering's seen it all before and under a number of different coaches, although no-one seems any closer to figuring out exactly how to transform one of the league's most erratic and enigmatic teams into a professional, functioning unit.

McFadden's already given Feleti Mateo the flick for Sunday's game against the Bulldogs in Auckland. He'll simply bide his time in the reserve grade, hopefully shake off his recidivist tendencies and await his recall to the top side. At least he gets a second chance.

Elliott was the ninth coach to pass through the club, including Tony Iro's brief and winless two-game tenure. Of those nine, only John Monie, Daniel Anderson and Ivan Cleary have a 50 per cent or better success rate - Anderson topping the list at 55 per cent.

There's talk of Tim Sheens chasing the job. It would be an intriguing exercise to see whether a former Australian test coach could make any sense of one of the NRL's most frustrating assignments. He'd certainly earn his pay cheque.

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- Nelson

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