Stephen Kearney teams up with Andrew McFadden to fix Warriors' leaky defence video

New head coach Stephen Kearney (right) is overseeing the Warriors defence along with former boss Andrew McFadden.
WILLIAM BOOTH/PHOTOSPORT

New head coach Stephen Kearney (right) is overseeing the Warriors defence along with former boss Andrew McFadden.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has paired himself up with the man he replaced, Andrew McFadden, to fix arguably the club's biggest problem area: defence.

Given McFadden was effectively demoted to an assistants role after the Warriors crashed out of finals contention in 2016, such an arrangement may appear awkward to those outside the club. 

But the reality is that Kearney has always been on board with 'Cappy' remaining at Mt Smart and the fact they are working so closely together shows just how comfortable everyone is with the situation.

Kearney also has Warriors legend Stacey Jones and former England boss Steve McNamara on his coaching staff, who have been tasked with shaping the attack.

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But Kearney and McFadden have their work cut for them on the other side of the ball, with the Warriors the third worst defensive team in the NRL last season, leaking more than 600 points and 101 tries.

"We'll sit down and we'll go through it as a coaching group but I've made it so it's Steve and Stacey's responsibility to look after the attack and myself and Cappy to look after the defence," Kearney said.

"We need to improve on every aspect of our game, particularly the defensive part of the game, and it's been a real focus for us over the last four weeks."

Since his appointment in September, Kearney has regularly spoke about building a culture that fosters success.

That all starts by setting the benchmark high on the training paddock and after almost a month of pre-season, the former Melbourne and Brisbane assistant coach feels the players are responding well to his ideas.

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"I've been pretty fortunate to be in some clubs that I think have pretty good cultures and know what winning looks like," he added. "So for me it's about having a certain standard and behaviours that go with that and making sure that we're all striving to achieve that standard every time. 

"And the guys, I must say, have been really receptive. I think everyone, yourself (the media), the fans, players, we all want the best for the football club so it's been a process where they're all keen to want that to happen."

Apart from the Kiwis contingent, most of the squad has resumed pre-season and prop Albert Vete has certainly noticed a change in mindset at training.

Kearney made it clear what was expected of them on day one and Vete says everyone has been working hard to impress the new coach.

"Everyone's fighting for a position because we're not too sure with what 'Mooks' (Kearney) is going to do with the team," Vete said.

"I think that's a good thing, it creates healthy competition within the team and I think we're going to bring the best out of each other."

While star signing Kieran Foran was present at training on Tuesday, there was no update on his contract situation with the club still working with the NRL to register his one-year deal.

The signs look good for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and his comeback from an ACL tear, though.

The Kiwis fullback was moving freely training, taking part in most of the drills, and appears well on track to be ready for the start of the season.

"He's pretty much getting close to full training with us, apart from a lot of the contact work," Kearney said. 

"The medical team is happy with where he's at. Just having him out at training, his talk and the way he goes about his business it's a real positive for the group."

 

 

 - Stuff

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