Matt Elliott has resigned as coach of the New Zealand Warriors, the club announced this morning.
His hand was forced following the side's dreadful 37-6 defeat to the Sharks on Saturday which was followed by reports in Australian media that he would be axed by the club.
The club confirmed Elliott's resignation this morning announcing that he will be replaced by assistant coach Andrew McFadden until the end of the 2014 season.
Elliott coached the Warriors for 29 games, winning 13 with 16 defeats. The side finished two points outside the playoffs in 11th place last season and have had a mixed start to 2014 with two wins from their opening five games, however the three defeats have all been big loses to unfancied opponents.
ANNOUNCEMENT | Andrew McFadden has been appointed @NZWarriors acting head coach.April 6, 2014
"I have learned a lot from Matt and am saddened that he has made this decision. It speaks volumes of his character and integrity and I personally wish him well," Warriors chairman Bill Wavish said.
The heat was certainly being applied to Elliott, and it's known he had some short-term targets to achieve to keep the owners happy.
"Tough day at the office @NZWarriors ... however definitely some questions to be answered," owner Eric Watson said on Twitter yesterday.
Watson and co-owner Owen Glenn want to turn the Warriors into the "best single sporting franchise in Australasia" and have invested heavily to try to achieve that. Glenn, in particular, is said to be decisive and doesn't stand for mediocrity.
It didn't take them long to dispense with Brian McClennan, who was dismissed before the end of his first season in charge in 2012.
Top coaches have the right chemistry with their players and there have been rumblings of discontent within the Warriors' playing group.
Elliott's not the one making the mistakes on the park but he is the most accountable. The Warriors' attitude is a big concern - there is a huge difference between their best and worst performances - and that often comes back to culture.
"That's a legitimate question and one that needs to be asked," Elliott told the Herald immediately after the defeat to the Sharks when asked if he felt his players played for him.
The Warriors have been inconsistent throughout their history but seemed to be turning a corner under Ivan Cleary. They went through some dry patches when he was coach but often their defeats were close.
Warriors coach Matt Elliott had been given targets to keep the owners happy. Photo / Getty Images
Elliott has also endured some narrow losses but also witnessed some heavy defeats, and often against middling sides, like the 62-6 hiding dished out by Cleary's Panthers and the 28-4 defeat to the Sharks last season. Their performances in their three defeats this year have been inept and they have the worst defensive record in the NRL.
Elliott's contract was to expire at the end of the season and Wigan coach Shaun Wane has repeatedly been linked with the Warriors - something strenuously denied by the club.
They are one of the best resourced clubs in the NRL, with millions having been spent since 2012 on facilities and support staff, but the only true measure is what happens on the field. And that was Elliott's responsibility.
Who is Andrew McFadden?
McFadden was today announced as acting Warriors coach till the end of the 2014 season following the resignation of Matt Elliott.
The 36-year-old is a former halfback who played 100 NRL games for the Raiders, Eels and Storm between 1997 and 2004.
Following his retirement from the game in 2004, McFadden joined the coaching staff at the Raiders the following year where Elliott was head coach.
McFadden took charge of the Raiders NSW Cup side in 2006 before leaving the club at the end of the season to take up an assistant coaching role at the Catalans Dragons. He was at the Super League club for the 2007 and 2008 Super League seasons before returning to the Raiders as Toyota Cup coach in 2009 and was then promoted to assistant coach for the Raiders.
He held the assistant coaching role in Canberra for three seasons before joining Elliott at the Warriors in 2013.
McFadden coached the Raiders to the Toyota Cup semifinals in 2009, while the Raiders made the NRL playoffs two of three seasons he was assistant coach between 2010 and 2012.
Warriors record: Games 29 W13 L16 (44.8%)
Overall: G265 W121 L141 D3 (45.6%)
Previous Warriors coaches
John Monie (1995-97) G52 W26 L26 (50%)
Frank Endacott (1997-98) G33 W13 L20 (39.39%)
Mark Graham (1999-2000) G50 W18 L30 D2 (36%)
Daniel Anderson (2001-04) G92 W51 L39 D2 (55.43%)
Tony Kemp (2004-05) G37 W13 L24 (35.13%)
Ivan Cleary (2006-11) G154 W77 L74 D3 (50%)
Brian McClennan (2012) G22 W8 L14 (36%)
*Tony Iro (2012) G2 W0 L2 D0 (0%)