Iro backs McFadden to be successful at Warriors

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:18 09/04/2014
Andrew McFadden
Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.co.nz
MCFADDEN BACKED: Former Warriors coach Tony Iro believes Andrew McFadden will make "a good fist of the job".

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Former Warriors coach Tony Iro believes Andrew McFadden will make "a good fist of the job" after the Australian was quickly installed to replace Matthew Elliott.

McFadden, Elliott's assistant, takes over five games into the new season and faces a tough initiation to the Warriors' head coach's roll in Sunday's match against the Bulldogs at Eden Park.

Iro has a feel for the circumstances, having stepped up from being Bluey McClennan's assistant to take over for the last two games of the disastrous 2012 season when McClennan was sacked prematurely.

Asked what he thought about this week's dramas that saw Elliott replaced on Monday after last Saturday's 37-6 loss to the previously win-less Sharks, Iro was diplomatic.

"It's always a surprise when a head coach leaves an organisation, especially at the early part of the year. But those organisations will make those decisions as they see it, so I don't really have an opinion on it," Iro, these days the New Zealand Rugby League's high performance manager, said.

He believed McFadden was capable of handling the pressures of the demanding NRL position.

"I'd imagine Andrew will see this as a great opportunity, no matter how tough the situation is," Iro said.

"It's always tough when you've been working with someone and all of a sudden that gets turned on its head.

"But he's a pretty level-headed guy Andrew, and I'm pretty sure he will put his best foot forward.

"As Andrew said, they are in short supply, head coaching jobs and I'm sure he'll make a good fist of it."

Iro's name has been bandied about as a possible long-term replacement at the Warriors with McFadden only handed the reins for the rest of this season to prove himself.

Iro said he was happy where he was at the moment, especially with the NZRL just starting to implement a new strategic plan.

"I'm not even considering it. We've got some big work to do here at the NZRL ... it's an important time for us getting our game in order."

But McFadden's elevation at the Warriors has impacted on Iro and the NZRL.

McFadden was recently appointed as Steve Kearney's assistant with the Kiwis but has had to quickly step aside to concentrate fully on the Warriors.

That saw the NZRL send out an SOS to former assistant Ivan Cleary to provide a helping hand for the May 2 Anzac Test against Australia in Sydney.

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Cleary had similarly stepped aside after helping at last year's World Cup, so he could concentrate on his increasingly successful job with the Penrith Panthers.

Cleary has agreed to help by providing technical assistance.

Iro said it was disappointing to lose McFadden but there was little that could be done and they wished McFadden well in his new role at the Warriors.

"We had included a clause in his contract that enabled him to take advantage of any head-coaching opportunities that might arise," Iro said.

"In effect, this leaves us with the same situation we had for last year's Anzac Test in Canberra.

"Ivan was obviously a big part of our campaign last year and he was more than willing to offer some technical advice to Stephen.

"With it being a short campaign I'm pretty sure they will have a number of conversations. The test is in Sydney so there might be a catchup. There are a few weeks to go before the test I would imagine Steve would find some time to go and visit Ivan."

Iro said they would now revisit the Kiwis assistant job for the Four Nations in October.

"What we don't want to do is rush into a decision. We are focused on getting the right person for our needs and feel this is the best solution in the meantime."

- Fairfax Media

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