Coach Andrew McFadden says he's ready to go

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:01 13/04/2014
Andrew McFadden
Photosport
GOAL REALISED: Warriors new head coach Andrew McFadden lays down the law at training last week.

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When Andrew McFadden was appointed assistant coach of the Kiwis a month ago he said he hoped the experience would help him achieve his long-term goal of being an NRL head coach.

Little did he know that day was just around the corner.

But such has been the fallout over Matt Elliott's departure and the bitter feud between the Warriors' owners, Sir Owen Glenn and Eric Watson, that it's been largely forgotten that today against the Bulldogs, a new chapter in the club's history is beginning.

McFadden, or "Cappy", was something of an anonymous figure when he was Elliott's assistant, usually only fronting the media when the boss wasn't around.

The 36-year-old, married to Bonnie with two children, Harley, 3, and Sebastian, 20 months, played exactly 100 NRL games.

Most of them were for the Canberra Raiders, where he formed a halves combination with Mark McLinden known as the "Mac Attack", 21 were with the Eels and he played just three times over a two-year span with the Melbourne Storm due to injuries.

He began his coaching career in 2005 with the Raiders' Jersey Flegg team and in 2007 he went to France, spending two years coaching the Catalans Dragons, as assistant to Mick Potter.

His first year there coincided with Stacey Jones' last with the club, and Jones remembers that McFadden wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

"Straight away I knew he had a knack," Jones said. "He wasn't afraid to voice his opinion even though he was the assistant coach. He is a hell of a nice guy, but he's also very firm. He's very direct in his approach and what he wants."

Jones, who is now the Warriors under-20s coach, feels McFadden learnt a lot from his time in France working at the Super League club.

"He coached before he came to France, then he went back to Canberra and coached there. He's relatively young, because he started coaching when he was young.

"But he's done the right kind of apprenticeship to move into the position."

Ruben Wiki, who also played alongside him at the Raiders, remembers a willing competitor.

"He was a fierce little mongrel," Wiki said. "He was very competitive and wore his heart on his sleeve. I was very honoured to actually play with Cappy. He is very thorough with everything he does around game plans and attack focus. He backs up what he did when he was playing."

McFadden admits that he didn't see his head coach opportunity coming as quickly as it did, but says he's ready for the challenge.

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"It is definitely a shock and my head is spinning a bit," McFadden said. "I've spoken to Matt a few times, I know he's obviously disappointed, but as he's been all along, he's been very supportive of me.

"He has always given me confidence that I'm ready for it and I believe I am too, that's why I've taken it."

McFadden's nice guy persona worries some who prefer a more gruff figure to push the players. McFadden insists he is that man.

- Sunday Star Times

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