David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors forward Charlie Gubb backs hard-line stance

Charlie Gubb of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Charlie Gubb of the Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Warriors forward Charlie Gubb has backed the club's hard-line stance in axing six players to reserve grade for breaking team protocol as the club continues to work on improving their culture and discipline.

Veteran players Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson, and young front-rowers Sam Lisone and Albert Vete, were all dropped from the side named to play St George Illawarra on Sunday, while Konrad Hurrell was also excluded, after enjoying a big night out following Monday's 42-0 Anzac Day defeat to Melbourne.

After returning home on Tuesday, the group went out that evening until the early hours of Wednesday morning. Some of the group were then late to a team meeting the following day, which prompted an investigation.

McFadden handed out the punishment to the six players and put the rest of the squad on notice in a team meeting before training yesterday.

Gubb says they all know what's expected under McFadden and Doyle's leadership, and the club's action against the six players proves there are consequences.

"The culture that Jim and Cappy (McFadden) want to set, we know the rules and you've got to stick to them," said Gubb.

"We always have a team meeting in the morning and there was just a different feeling. We went in and Cappy 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."

Gubb acknowledged these incidents of ill-discipline, together with the team's inconsistent performances, fuel the public's perception the players don't respect McFadden, who is under huge pressure after achieving three wins in their last 16 games.
Gubb refutes those claims but accepts the only way that perception will change is by performing on the field consistently.

"People assume things and we're not doing him any favours by playing the way we did," he said. "What hurts the most is people blaming Cappy because, as a team, we've got so much respect for him and he's a great coach.

"We just need to start delivering for him because it's easy to point the finger at the coach and also the star players cop a lot [of criticism]. The only way we can stop that is by winning."

Radio Sport's Jason Pine interviews Warriors CEO Jim Doyle

Gubb said the players already expected some changes were likely to be made for Sunday's must-win game against the Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium in the wake of their embarrassing seven-tries-to-none defeat to the Storm.

"Probably not to this magnitude but there were definitely going to be changes."

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