NRL: Elliott to coach Warriors

By Steve Deane

The Warriors will today unveil Matthew Elliott as their new head coach. Photo / Getty Images.
The Warriors will today unveil Matthew Elliott as their new head coach. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors will tomorrow unveil Matthew Elliott as their new head coach.

The former Bradford, Canberra and Penrith coach became the frontrunner for the job when David Kidwell pulled out earlier this week, and yesterday he and the club agreed terms on a two-year-contract.

The identity of the new general manager of football is not yet known. It appears the Warriors also remain in the hunt for Storm supercoach Craig Bellamy, who is off contract at the end of next season.

With the contenders for the job having steadily dropped out over recent weeks while the club delayed making a decision to see if an improved big money offer for Bellamy would bear fruit, Elliott was almost the last man standing.

While he enjoyed success with Bradford in the early years of the Super League - winning the inaugural 1997 title and enjoying a 72 per cent success rate over four seasons - the 47-year-old was unable to translate that success into the NRL.

Under Elliott the Raiders won 59 of 130 matches, while Penrith won just 49 of 113.
Over nine-and-a-half seasons since 2002, Elliot's success rate in the NRL is 44 per cent. He did guide the Panthers to second place in 2010, however the club lost both finals matches.

After a poor start to the 2011 season, Elliott was told his contract would not be renewed, with newly-appointed director of football Phil Gould determined to recruit then Warriors coach Ivan Cleary. He resigned from the Panthers in June last year, with assistant Steve Georgallis taking over as a caretaker until Cleary's arrival.

Elliott's appointment makes the futures of current assistant Tony Iro and several high performance staff unclear.

Some are believed to have been seeking roles at other clubs during a protracted recruitment process that began when Brian McClennan was sacked in August just 10 months into a two-year contract.

Having worked at the club for seven years and been groomed for the head coach job, Iro may take this latest snub hard.

The popular 45-year-old had the unanimous backing of the players, who had become frustrated at the lack of certainty and lack of information during the recruitment process, Elijah Taylor said yesterday at a Kiwis media session.

"It has taken far too long," Taylor said. "I feel sorry for Tony Iro. He is in limbo, just as the players are. He has got family.

"The players all want Tony to be the coach. He has been there for seven years now. The majority of our team are Toyota Cup players now and Tony has brought us all through. I don't understand why he doesn't get a shot.

"But that's the NRL - we are in a business."

Taylor also fingered a poor attitude that permeated the team and a cushy pre-season as the major reasons for last year's dramatic fall from grace.

"Some players' attitudes weren't up to standard. I can't name names but there were a lot of players just coasting - not on their toes and not working hard on defense and it showed. It was just an attitude thing.

"Our pre-season wasn't as hard as the one prior and our training wasn't too hard, and we paid the price. At the back end of games teams just blew us off the park.

"That is not going to happen again. This pre-season we are going to get touched up every session."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 28 Nov 2014 02:45:38 Processing Time: 393ms