David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: McFadden defends Warriors' style of play

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has defended his side's style of play after coming under fire for a lack of spark and creativity on attack. Photo / Getty Images.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has defended his side's style of play after coming under fire for a lack of spark and creativity on attack. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has defended his side's style of play after coming under fire for a lack of spark and creativity on attack in the opening two rounds of the NRL.

Defeats to Wests Tigers and Brisbane have critics questioning McFadden's tactics, with Australian commentators, Andrew Johns, and brother, Matthew, both disapproving of the Warriors structured backline play.

Andrew, the former Newcastle Knights captain and eighth league Immortal, blamed halfback Jeff Robson for stifling five-eighth Shaun Johnson's running game, while Matthew believes the Warriors would be better served playing ad-lib footy off the back of their forwards.

Ahead of Sunday's crucial match against Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium, McFadden remains unfazed by the barbs, but admits his side is suffering from a lack of confidence with the ball in hand.

"We got criticised in the Wests Tigers game for playing too one out and direct and then we get criticised for playing too lateral (against the Broncos)," he said.

"We know what our game is and we know we haven't really found it yet, that balance and there's something we're striving for.

"When we get a bit of confidence in the type of footy we want to play it will all start to click."

Robson's combinations with Johnson, and new hooker Issac Luke and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has come under intense scrutiny, with fans left frustrated by their lack of cohesion.

Luke and Tuivasa-Sheck arrived at the club in December and the quartet trained hard together through the last stages of preseason, but Robson says that work did little to prepare them for actual game situations.

"You can train together as much as you like but when you get into a game it's totally different," he said. "We had some nice pieces of play linking up together (with Johnson) and I'm starting to learn his style of play a bit more and vice versa.

"So it's going to take a little bit of time. With Roger as well, being new to the club, we're working out what he likes.

"We can take a bit of confidence out of the way we combined last week and just keep learning and improving."

Robson too, says he is unaffected by the criticism of the team's form and says 12-years of playing in Sydney has him conditioned to handle the media hype.

"I've been at a few different clubs in Sydney and there's a fair bit of scrutiny over there. I played for the Sharks during the peptides situation so I'm sort of used to it."

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