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

Hugh McGahan: Building for Warriors future is irrelevant

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Ryan Hoffman of the Warriors looks on during the warm up ahead of the round one NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Ryan Hoffman of the Warriors looks on during the warm up ahead of the round one NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

The Warriors have got to the stage where they have to win and it doesn't really matter how.

If it means winning ugly or doing it with players who were suspended for off-field indiscretions, then that's what they have to do. Building for the future, making a stand about principles ... it's irrelevant right now.

Their season has to go to a point where the only thing that matters is winning and, if they don't, it could cost a few people their jobs. It's that desperate.

That might sound a bit drastic, given the Warriors went into this weekend only two points outside the top eight but that is a false position because they haven't been playing that well. Their points differential is also so poor they are effectively two points further behind some other teams.

If 30 points is required to make the top eight, then the Warriors need to win about 9 of their remaining 14 games - they will pick up four points for their two bye rounds (eds - before Saturday night's game).

That's still a very tall order.

The Warriors are capable of doing it, and have gone on good runs in past seasons, but I don't have any confidence they will achieve it because they have been dreadfully inconsistent. After all, they has won consecutive games only once this season and the manner of their performances have jumped around all over the place.

Even when they had a full side to choose from, they have underwhelmed and it all started after they lost their first two in unimpressive fashion. Not much has changed since then.

They could make excuses about disruptions and injuries, but fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck wasn't playing well before he was injured and all teams have to cope with injuries, and they are only that - excuses.

I'm amazed they have got to this point. I said at the start of the season they were a top-six side ad that serious questions would need to be asked if they didn't make the eight. in reality, those questions are already being asked.

Coach Andrew McFadden need to be open and frank with his players. He needs to emphasis the need to win, no matter what.

The problem is, most players won't appreciate the desperation of the situation. When it comes down to it, they don't really care who coaches them. Most will be contracted to the club beyond this year and, if not, won't really struggle to pick up another club. It's a lot harder for a coach.

And the players will be hearing that the club are backing the coach. That's only the case until he gets to the edge of the cliff and he either jumps or is pushed. Players don't really understand what the spin doctors are saying about the situation.

In reality, the Warriors are only one injury to a key player away from being in big trouble, in the same way their season unravelled last season when Shaun Johnson broke his ankle.
It's why they need to win and keep on winning.

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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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