Warriors coach Matthew Elliott 'resigns'

Last updated 10:21 07/04/2014
ANDREW CONAGA/www.photosport.co.nz
UNCHANGED: Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has named the same 17 which hammered the Knights to take on South Sydney in Perth on Saturday night.

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The Warriors have confirmed the departure of Matt Elliott as their head coach following their dreadful 37-6 loss to Cronulla Sharks.

The loss on Saturday has been the final straw for the embattled coach, with the Warriors announcing that Elliott assistant Andrew McFadden had taken over as caretaker coach.

The club announced this morning that Elliott had "resigned with immediate effect" though speculation had been bubbling since Sunday evening that he had been sacked.

"Assistant coach Andrew McFadden has been appointed acting head coach to the end of the 2014 NRL season," the club said.

Warriors chairman Bill Wavish said he was "saddened" Elliott had made the decision.

"It speaks volumes of his character and integrity and I personally wish him well," Wavish said.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said McFadden was "widely recognised as a leader of the next generation of coaches in the very competitive NRL competition".

McFadden was to meet the media later today along with Scurrah, general manager football operations Dean Bell, captain Simon Mannering and senior players Sam Rapira and Thomas Leuluai.

News of Elliott's expected demise surfaced last night with reports he was told yesterday morning that the club wanted to move in a different direction and his coaching style wasn't having the required effect.

Elliott posted an intriguing message on the social media site Instagram last night.

"Life is not about agreeing with decisions," Elliott wrote in the 10.10pm posting.

"It's very rare when everyone does. It's about dealing with decisions, finding how they serve you best and getting on with life."

The club's co-owner, Eric Watson also sent out a cryptic tweet, saying: "Tough day at the office @NZWarriors… however definitely some questions to be answered #WarriorsForever."

It is early to dump a coach just five games into the season, but with the investment and optimism for this year's campaign, better results and performances were expected than the losses to the Eels, Dragons and Sharks.

Fairfax Media revealed the unsettled situation at the club after the round-two loss to the Dragons at Eden Park last month.

Following that 31-12 defeat senior club officials went to the changing shed and a warning was given heads would roll unless results improved. It's also believed Elliott read the riot act to the players.

McFadden's appointment is slightly complicated by the fact he is also the Kiwis' assistant coach and there is the Anzac test coming up next month.

Former Kiwis coach Tony Kemp, who was also sacked midway through the season in 2005, was critical of any move by the Warriors to get rid of Elliott at this time.

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"This is just another sign that the Warriors lack consistency as much off the field as they do on it," Kemp told Fairfax Media.

"I'm not surprised by the decision, though. If anything, I'm probably surprised he's lasted this long.

"You do have to ask what the obsession is down at Mt Smart Stadium with sacking coaches part-way through the season.

"There's a real culture issue with the club right now and if you want to win a championship, the management have to start conducting themselves with integrity and consistency in their decision-making."

- Fairfax Media


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