NZ Warriors co-owner angered by coach sacking

Last updated 15:40 09/04/2014
Owen Glenn
JOHN KIRK ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
NOT HAPPY: Warriors co-owner Owen Glenn says Matt Elliott's sacking was done without his knowledge.
Matt Elliott
Getty Images
PUSHED: Matt Elliott's reign as Warriors coach is over just five games into his second season at the helm.

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While Matthew Elliott isn't bitter about his Warriors departure, club co-owner Owen Glenn has described the former coach's sacking as "dishonourable" and says it was done without his knowledge.

Elliott, who parted ways with the Auckland-based NRL club following their 37-6 loss to Cronulla last weekend, says he wants to coach again and backs his replacement Andrew McFadden to do a good job.

"I'm handling it OK. In the grown-up world, you have to take this stuff on the chin," Elliott told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Whether I knew it was coming or not, it wasn't going to change it, so the best way is to be respectful of that.

"It's not about wording around decisions and it's not about whether you agree or disagree. It's like on the field, the referee makes a call. You can moan about it all you like, but it won't change what happens.

"The decision has been made. It doesn't matter what I think. I'm getting on with the game.''

That includes harbouring a strong desire to remain involved in coaching despite the Warriors axing being his second job loss in three years following an early departure from the Penrith Panthers.

"I wouldn't rule out coaching again,'' Elliott said.

"I got involved in some strategic stuff here at the Warriors and I feel I've got a fair bit to offer there. I'm not limited in what I can do. I really feel I have a bit to offer this competition. In what guise that is, I have some time to think about that."

Elliott denied any suggestions that player power aided his demise nor was there a cultural issue of an Australian overseeing a New Zealand side stacked with Pacific Island talent.

"That is overstated really, I never felt having an Australian coach is an inhibiting factor. They are a great group of guys,'' Elliott said.

"That cultural stuff is not an issue. There's so many myths around the Warriors. One is the one (about Australian coaches), the other one is the talk around the massive Warriors pack.

"It's not a massive pack, it's nowhere near the biggest in the comp. It's a stereotype."

While results had been inconsistent during his time in charge (13 wins and 16 losses) Elliott believed he made "significant improvement" across the club.

"I hope Cappy (Andrew McFadden) gets an opportunity to build on that. He is ready to be a first-grade coach," he said.

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"Every coach has a different approach. I will stick my hand up and say I could have done some things better. I won't be selfish or petulant. I have to pick myself up and get ready for the next chapter."

Glenn, meanwhile, reacted strongly today to the unexpected departure of Elliott, claiming it was a sacking made without his knowledge.

"I was sorry to hear of Matt's 'resignation'," Glenn said in a statement.

"I was sorrier still when I learned that he hadn't, in fact, walked away from the Warriors at all - he didn't jump, he was pushed.

"But what I am most sorry about is the dishonourable treatment of an honourable man."

Glenn conceded results hadn't helped Elliott's cause, especially last weekend's hiding by the Sharks.

"Saturday night in Sydney was worse than disappointing," he said.

"Since I am known as someone who deplores mediocrity, I guess I would have to concede that hard questions needed to be put in the wake of the Sydney debacle - not just to the coach but to the players and the Warriors' management team.

"However, a decision to axe a coach needs to be scrupulously considered and properly ratified. Instead, what we have here is a seeming knee-jerk decision conveyed to Matt immediately after the game, without ratification by the full board of the Warriors - or by this co-owner.

"Adding insult to injury, there appears to have been an effort to evade accountability for the decision by dressing it up as a voluntary resignation rather than calling it by its proper name. This was clearly designed to convey the impression that Matt Elliott chose not to stay.

"The Matt Elliott I know is not a quitter. And in view of the service he has given to the Warriors and the strength of his character, to suggest that he would walk of his own volition is disreputable."

Warriors CEO Wayne Scurrah said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on Glenn's outburst.

- Fairfax Media

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