Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh McGahan: McFadden's time is up


It's time for Andrew McFadden to consider his position as Warriors coach.

I said earlier in the season there was little to be gained from sacking the coach if things didn't go well but that was when, like most, I expected the Warriors to be among the better sides in the NRL this year. With the roster they assembled, they should be.

But something has to change, and big changes need to be made.

There's so much going wrong at the moment - confidence is low, they're soft up the middle, they have a weak culture, messages aren't getting through - that applying a band aid won't heal the wounds.

For whatever reason, McFadden hasn't been able to get the best out of the players so it's time for someone else to try.

There are a few options available, including Ivan Cleary, Geoff Toovey and David Kidwell, but none of them are the answer.

Cleary walked out of the club when under contract, Toovey is an option and is a renowned disciplinarian but, for whatever reason, was let go by Manly and Kidwell has no experience as a head coaching in the NRL.

Picking up someone from the UK Super League would also be a mistake because the NRL is a totally different beast.

Too often the Warriors have employed a rookie coach. Whether that's because it's the cheap option, I don't know, but they actually need to do the opposite.

What they need to do is splash some serious cash and buy in a big-name coach and the usual names crop up such as Craig Bellamy, Des Hasler and Wayne Bennett. I realise they are all under contract but money talks.

An experienced coach who commands respect could come in and change the culture at Mt Smart.

Maybe it's also time for other personnel changes to be made at the club. General manager Jim Doyle is relatively new and should look at the whole organisation.

Doyle and owner Eric Watson have both been steadfast in their support of McFadden but there will have to be a time when they are honest about the situation. It's OK to admit you got things wrong and preferable to belligerently sticking with someone who has not been able to get results.

They've talked about trying to get a mentor to work with McFadden but unless that person is around the club daily to listen to what is being said and feel what is going on, then it's a waste of time.

Certainly getting NSW coach Laurie Daley on the end of the phone every now and then, as has been suggested, would serve very little purpose.

Clearly the messages McFadden is giving the players aren't getting through because it doesn't appear as though he's able to get the best out of the players. Even criticism from fans and media doesn't seem to make a difference.

It's time the players woke up and stepped up. I was astounded to hear hooker Issac Luke say he needs a kick up the backside. Well, the coach shouldn't have to do that especially if a player knows they're not performing as they should. The player should do something about it, especially one who has played nearly 200 NRL games and 36 tests.

If he has to wait for a coach to tell him he's not doing well enough, it highlights the culture of the place.

I was also dumbfounded to learn some players had been on a night out during the week.

It might have been innocent but the timing was appalling on the back of the hammering by the Storm and it heaped more pressure on the club.

You could almost say it's bringing the game here into disrepute. Everyone is looking at the Warriors, who are essentially the game in New Zealand, and are laughing.

The Warriors are in trouble on and off the field and it's time for drastic action. Big changes need to be made.

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Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh Joseph McGahan MBE was a renowned rugby league player and coach who represented New Zealand in no less than 53 test matches, captaining 17 of them. Beginning his career in Auckland he later moved to Sydney where he played over 100 matches for the Roosters, finishing his career in 1991 as captain-coach of the eastern Sydney outfit. Accolades were never far away from the impressive Kiwi lock and in 1987 McGahan jointly won the prestigious Golden Boot Award, the first row forward at the time to win the award. Hugh McGahan’s international career was similarly impressive coming to the fore in 1982 after scoring a remarkable six tries for the Kiwis against Papua New Guinea in Auckland. Hugh Mcgahan ended his career with distinguished honours as he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to rugby and later inducted into the NZRL Legends of League. He continues to write sports columns for the New Zealand Herald.

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