McFadden's job to get NZ Warriors to the finals

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014
Andrew McFadden
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
OVER TO YOU, COACH: Rookie head coach Andrew McFadden will take on the huge task of correcting the Warriors' inconsistent form and setting the side on the road to the finals.

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Andrew McFadden will need to take the Warriors to the finals if he wants to be sure of extending his time as the club's coach.

The 36-year-old McFadden, who played exactly 100 games in the NRL for the Raiders, Eels and Storm was yesterday confirmed as the man who'll replace Matt Elliott as the Warriors' coach.

Elliott resigned, or was sacked depending what you want to believe, following a meeting with the club's chairman Bill Wavish after the abysmal 37-6 loss to the previously winless Sharks on Saturday.

Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah got a flurry of calls from coaches interested in the job when the story broke on Sunday night, but the club decided to direct their faith towards McFadden, who has previously been assistant coach at the Catalans Dragons and Canberra Raiders.

Unlike Elliott, McFadden won't be taking a big picture view on how things operate at the Warriors. He'll have more of a concentrated focus on getting the best out of the 17 players selected for each weekend's game.

"He is a young coach and he'll have more support from people like Dean Bell, the GM of football and other people in football like Carl [Jennings, strength and conditioning coach] overseeing a lot more of the training programme.

"Matt tended to touch a lot of parts of the business, but what Andrew knows is that his primary role is to win NRL matches.

"He is the head coach and he's across everything that relates to the football team."

Officially, McFadden is the acting head coach and will have a say in player recruitment.

But whether he'll be there to work with any players signed for 2015 will depend on how he goes for the rest of this season.

"We've made the decision and it was a really difficult one on where we were as a club, but not a difficult decision to put Andrew in the job once Matt resigned," Scurrah said.

"We know his calibre and we know what the players think about him.

"During his recent trip Eric [Watson, co-owner] got to know him pretty well and we know him pretty well.

"He's made of the right stuff and with what he's told us about what he wants to do and how we wants to operate. I think he'll be a breath of fresh air for the club, not only in replacing Matt, but in general.

"He absolutely understands what players have to do and what their obligations should be in terms of being professional and consistent, and I'm confident that he's got their support in wanting to do that as well."

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But when pressed on what the benchmark for McFadden was, Scurrah said: "At the end of the day we're here to make the finals, so that's his goal and our goal."

There have been suggestions that Elliott's demise was sparked by a player revolt, however, Warriors captain Simon Mannering refutes this.

"I don't know where the player revolt came into it, we only found out this morning," he said yesterday.

"In saying that, I don't think us players have a leg to stand on in saying who the coach is with the performance we had on Saturday.

"There were a lot of errors on the field and that wasn't from the coach, that was from the players."

Mannering said the players are the ones responsible for how poorly they've played in games this season and it's disappointing that this has led to Elliott leaving.

"Unfortunately Matt is the one that's taken the flak as the coach, but as players we've got to take responsibility also," he said.

"We're the ones on the field and can control what happens there.

"The errors you see on the field are just dropping the ball and the best coach in the world doesn't need to tell you how to hold a footy."

- Fairfax Media

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