NRL: Warriors out till 3am night after loss

By David Skipwith, Michael Burgess

The Warriors have axed six first-team regulars after a late night that breached team standards in the wake of Monday's humiliating loss to Melbourne.

Gone from the team named by coach Andrew McFadden to face St George Illawarra on Sunday are veteran players Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino, and Bodene Thompson, and young front-rowers Sam Lisone and Albert Vete, while Konrad Hurrell is also excluded.

It's understood the six went out on Tuesday night until the early hours of Wednesday morning. The night included some poker and ended at an Auckland Viaduct bar about 2am or 3am.

Some players were then late to a team meeting the following day, which prompted an investigation. Managing director Jim Doyle and an HR representative met with players about the indiscretion.

The club then held a meeting with the entire playing squad on Thursday morning to discuss the situation, when coach Andrew McFadden did almost all of the talking.

Club representatives have refused to discuss what was talked about but forward Charlie Gubb said the atmosphere before Thursday's training was heavy.

"We always have a team meeting in the morning and there was just a different feeling," he told the Herald. "We went in and Cappy (McFadden) just told us straight up what was going on.

"The boys didn't meet some standards and to create the culture that we want you've got to be disciplined and if that means dropping some of your best players then you've got to do it.

"The culture that Jim and Cappy want to set. We know the rules and you've got to stick to them."

All six players have been reprimanded and will now play in Sunday's second-tier NSW Intrust Super Cup Premiership match against the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, which is a curtainraiser to the Warriors' crucial match against the Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Warriors, who have won only three of their eight games this season, are coming off an embarrassing 42-0 loss to the Storm on Anzac Day and have already lost key players Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Simon Mannering and Tuimoala Lolohea to injury.

"We've dealt with this internally after questioning the players involved and won't be going into any details," McFadden said.

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The changes have opened the way for 21-year-old prop Toafofoa Sipley to make his NRL debut against the Dragons while Sione Lousi, John Palavi and Matt Allwood have earned NRL recalls.

McFadden said he wouldn't confirm his starting line-up and interchange until an hour before the match.

Doyle declined to discuss details of what went on.

"We've dealt with it internally," he said. "That's where it stops as far as we're concerned.
"If people want to speculate on all sorts of things, that's up to them.

"We've been trying to create something of real substance here at the club that we can all be proud of and unfortunately this just adds a bit of negativity to it."

Doyle said the six players were "regretful and remorseful" when confronted on their actions.

Radio Sport's Jason Pine interviews Warriors CEO Jim Doyle

Warriors squad to face the Dragons:
Matt Allwood
Blake Ayshford
David Fusitu'a
James Gavet
Charlie Gubb
Ryan Hoffman (c)
Shaun Johnson
Solomone Kata
Shaun Lane
Thomas Leuluai
Jacob Lillyman
Sione Lousi
Issac Luke
John Palavi
Toafofoa Sipley
Jazz Tevaga
Jonathan Wright

- NZ Herald

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