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

Andrew McFadden: 'I need to stay the course'

Andrew McFadden is remaining defiant, saying he's the right man for the job, has the backing of the playing group and can get the Warriors out of this current mess.

Time will tell, but one thing is for sure - McFadden is more under the spotlight now than at any previous stage of his tenure.

He has been in the job for just over two years, but it's hard to recall a worse week for him than this.

It started with the capitulation in Melbourne, continued with that night out in Auckland and followed with axings, a retweet and continual questions. There's also the inescapable truth the team sit closer to the bottom of the NRL ladder than anyone predicted. Sure, it's far from the worst crisis the club have endured but these are dark days.

Yet McFadden has no doubts, especially around talk that players have lost faith in his ability.

"I speak to the playing group every day and I know I have their backing," said McFadden. "If I didn't have their backing, I certainly wouldn't be in a job right now. I know 100 per cent that I've got their backing."

It's difficult to know where things stand with the dressing room. There are certainly no signs of a Matt Elliott-type situation, when many players had lost faith in the Australian before the 2014 season started. They didn't understand his messages, didn't buy into some of his radical ideas around diet and nutrition and didn't think he could create the environment they needed.

That's not evident this season and the core of the playing group seem genuine in their backing of the embattled McFadden, but performances like last week raise questions.

It was a similar display that sealed Elliott's fate (the 37-6 loss to Cronulla in 2014) and to a degree Brian McClennan's (the 45-4 reverse against the Sharks in 2012).

McFadden has no thoughts of resigning. "I'm more energised than ever," he said. "I'm very determined.

"It's a tough time but you can either walk away ... or walk into it."

McFadden is prepared to make more tough calls, and yesterday confirmed under-performing hooker Issac Luke will start from the bench against the Dragons today.

"I need to keep finding the people who want to be here, be reliable and want to turn up every week. I'll keep making the tough decisions as long as I am here."

McFadden also defended the perception his team were no better placed than at this time last year, despite the marquee recruits and his hand-picked assistants.

"We have had some inconsistent performances, we have some good performances," said McFadden. "We are a new team, we are building cohesion in the group and we haven't had a lot of luck.

"There are some factors there, so that perception is a little bit skewed. We are certainly not making excuses. We want to be a tougher side and these things don't help. I am very clear on where we need to go and I just need to stay the course."

- Herald on Sunday

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