Long: The players let loyal Matt Elliott down

DAVID LONG
Last updated 10:11 07/04/2014
Matt Elliott
Getty Images

ROUGH TIME: Matt Elliott was given last year to find his feet at the club and make the necessary alterations for the 2014 campaign. But there were few changes made to the roster for this season.

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OPINION: It is ironic that Matt Elliott's biggest fault of showing too much loyalty led to the Warriors putting his head on the block.

Ever since Elliott arrived at the club in late 2012, he has spoken about how much faith he had in this group of players.

After shocking losses, like the 62-6 thrashing by the Panthers last season and the 36-6 defeat to the Eels at the beginning of this year's campaign, it was Elliott who wanted to take all the heat rather than the players.

He would say the players' commitment couldn't be questioned and that he needed to look himself in the mirror to see what he had done wrong.

Elliott continued to pick Feleti Mateo and other experienced players each week, despite them failing to live up to their reputations.

The reality is that the players let Elliott down and his continued loyalty towards them was unwarranted.

While Elliott had faith in the players he also realised the culture inside the club was rotten, and while he tried to change that he only went so far.

Initially this caused friction between the players and Elliott and this was something that was never resolved.

At the beginning of this season, he relented and gave the players more say in how things were run and of course, it's clear that there has been no improvement in performances.

Elliott was given last year to find his feet at the club and make the necessary alterations for the 2014 campaign.

But there were few changes made to the roster for this season. He managed to get rid of Russell Packer, who was a bad influence inside the club, but others remained and foolishly Elijah Taylor was allowed to head off to the Panthers.

He recruited just three players for this season, Sam Tomkins, Jayson Bukuya and Chad Townsend. Tomkins cost the club a reported $1.4m transfer fee, plus his huge wages.

While the England fullback has shown some nice touches, he hasn't been the inspirational figure the club hoped he'd be and Townsend and Bukuya have been patchy.

Turn the clock back nine months and the Warriors were talking like Elliott was the great messiah, who'd be the person to finally deliver glory to the club.

He was given a free rein to completely overhaul the structure at the club and when he clashed with Junior Warriors coach John Ackland, it was Ackland who left.

There had been talk about Elliott eventually moving into an overseeing role at the Warriors and he'd groom another coach underneath him, who'd handle the day-to-day activities.

However, it appears all of those grand ideas have gone out of the window and once again the Warriors will rebuild from scratch.

Because there was so much admiration for Elliott at the club last season, it could be argued that the decision to axe him now would be a rash one, but the results each week count for so much in professional sport and it was apparent that Elliott couldn't stop the wild performance swings.

But surely the players are as responsible for that as much as Elliott was and while they'll get the opportunity play against the Bulldogs on Sunday, Elliott could be packing up his life and heading back to Sydney.

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