League: How Graham Henry can help the Warriors

Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry. Photo / Getty
Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry. Photo / Getty

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden will be leaning on Sir Graham Henry's experience of facing adversity when the former World Cup-winning All Blacks coach takes on a new role at the league club.

McFadden faced one of the biggest decisions this month since becoming coach of the club in 2015 by dropping six players in the energy drinks and prescription drug affair.

The club announced yesterday Henry, who guided the All Blacks to the 2011 World Cup, has been signed up to provide support for the club's NRL squad and football department over the next month.

He spent time at Mt Smart Stadium on Monday in a role he agreed to take up several weeks ago.

McFadden told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that Henry will be providing support and advice around building the team environment.

"He's a very likable person and obviously he's got a great deal of experience. I think he's going to be great for our organisation," McFadden said on the Mike Hosking Breakfast.

"[It] Definitely won't be technical advice. His experience with obviously the All Blacks and their environment and what we're trying to build here at the Warriors we'll probably get a lot of insight into things we do well and things we need to improve. It hasn't always been smooth sailing for Sir Graham, he's had his own bits of adversity and we've had to deal with that recently. Anything we can draw on I think it positive.

"I just need that support around the messages I deliver."

The Warriors have been searching for a mentor for McFadden for some time, with All Blacks assistant Wayne Smith, who was also an assistant under Henry, and NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley among those approached. Former All Blacks coach and Warriors director of football John Hart, who also acted as a mentor for former coach Ivan Cleary, also spoke with McFadden on occasions last year.

There has been a feeling McFadden needs more support around him, given this is his first head coaching role and the fact the team have struggled over the past 12 months.

Henry's arrival is timely as the club deal with the fallout from six players who were stood down for breaching team protocol. Manu Vatuvei, Bodene Thompson, Ben Matulino, Sam Lisone and Albert Vete admitted to club officials they had mixed energy drinks and prescription medicine on a night out and were dropped from first grade and test selection. Konrad Hurrell denied drug taking but was also banned as punishment for being part of the late night escapade.

"I've had an association with Cappy (McFadden) on a social level for quite a while now," Henry said. "I've got a lot of time for him as a coach and I also really enjoy his company.

"We've had some healthy discussions about coaching previously and I'm thrilled to have the chance to be able to work with him, to observe the organisation and to provide some feedback."

Since the 2011 World Cup, Henry has worked with, among others, the Argentine rugby side and the Blues Super Rugby franchise.

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