Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Matulino says culture at Warriors is strong

Warriors prop Ben Matulino is adamant the team culture at the club "as strong as ever", in the wake of allegations by former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe.

After the 34-26 loss to the Tigers, Lowe said the Auckland team lacked a "hard and ruthless edge", has a "bro culture" that emphasises a no worries attitude is "going backwards".

Matulino is a good judge of the environment at Mt Smart, as the third longest serving player at the club behind Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei.

Matulino made his debut in 2008. He's seen it all - the good, the bad, and the bloody ugly.

"I'm not sure what he means," said Matulino of Lowe's opinion. "I don't know if he has been around training enough to say that. But I know our culture is as strong as ever. When something goes wrong at training that kind of bro culture doesn't apply - people don't hold back saying what they think."

Tuimoala Lolohea talks to the Sauce about culture at the Warriors

According to Matulino, the club's culture has improved markedly under Andrew McFadden.

"It's way more professional than it was," said Matulino. "Cappy makes everyone accountable. If someone is slipping up or their weight goes up, he is on to it straight away. In previous seasons if something small like that happened it wouldn't get spoken about. It is more professional than previous seasons."

But ultimately output on match day is what matters , and that is where the question marks arise. Their defence, in particular, still has major issues. Wests Tigers scored six tries last Saturday - and could have had two or three more - and the Warriors have conceded at least 24 points in eight of their past nine NRL games.

However, McFadden resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes for Friday's match against the Broncos.

There is only one change to the 17 that faced the Tigers, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner coming in for the injured Ben Henry. "Persevering at the moment is the right thing to do," said McFadden. "Making wholesale changes would upset even more. We have to trust what we do and if we have the right application we can turn it around really quickly."

- NZ Herald

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