Time runs out for McClennan with Warriors

NICOLA ABERCROMBIE
Last updated 11:35 21/08/2012
Brian McClennan
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
BRIAN McCLENNAN: Signed on with the Warriors for two seasons after Ivan Cleary left for Penrith, and his departure after not even completing one hints he is the victim of a panicked management desperate for results.

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OPINION: The Warriors have done themselves no favours by parting ways with Brian McClennan today.

The club announced this morning that McClennan would be stepping down from his role, effective immediately, with assistant coach Tony Iro to take over for the side's two remaining games this season.

McClennan signed on with the Warriors for two seasons after Ivan Cleary left for Penrith, and his departure after not even completing one hints he is the victim of a panicked management desperate for results.

In a year that has seen the NZ Breakers win their second consecutive Australian National Basketball League title, the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic break the trans-Tasman netball hoodoo and the Chiefs secure their first Super Rugby title, the Warriors have been a red mark on an otherwise stellar record.

Perhaps, after fumbling through to an 8-14 record and with Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney now available, Warriors management thought there was something better on offer.

But, as history has shown for multiple New Zealand champion sides, dropping a coach when the going gets tough is the easy way out, but not often the best.

Perseverance has proven key for many successful New Zealand sporting sides.

Graham Henry is the obvious example. After a shocking quarter-final loss in the 2007 World Cup, the NZRU bravely stuck with Henry as All Blacks coach.

Continuity was the biggest winner when the men in black claimed the Webb Ellis Cup last year.

It took Andrej Lemanis five seasons before he could deliver an ANBL championship to Auckland.

After signing on for the 2005/2006 season, Lemanis' Breakers missed the playoffs in three of his first five seasons. His first two produced losing records of 9-23 and 11-22.

In 2011, the Breakers' faith in Lemanis paid off and they became the first New Zealand professional team to win an Australian sporting competition.

Magic coach Noeline Taurua took four seasons before she could break the barrier in the trans-Tasman netball competition, while former Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken guided New Zealand to Commonwealth Games gold in 2010, two years after losing the World Championship final.

While McClennan would probably rather forget most of his debut season in the NRL, he has had proven success as Kiwis coach and in the English Super League.

Whether he wanted to go or he was pushed, the Warriors have shown little faith in their man by letting him go so soon. He has not had time to establish a culture or build a successful team.

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Unfortunately, the Warriors' loss will be someone else's gain.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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