David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors players hold crisis meeting

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck suffered a season-ending knee injury. Photo / Getty
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck suffered a season-ending knee injury. Photo / Getty

Injured fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has revealed the Warriors held a players-only crisis meeting to address the team's disastrous form and reaffirm their commitment to besieged coach Andrew McFadden.

Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman and other senior players gathered the entire first grade squad together behind closed doors at Mt Smart Stadium on Wednesday, for an urgent and honest clear-the-air conference.

The players spoke openly to discuss and take responsibility for the side's poor start to the NRL season while reinforcing their collective commitment and support of McFadden.

"The whole team had a good discussion yesterday and we feel like Cappy (McFadden) and (managing director) Jim (Doyle) have been giving us great treatment," said Tuivasa-Sheck.

"We have a leadership group with Ryan Hoffman, Jacob Lillyman, Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering, and those guys got together and thought it would be a good idea to speak with all of us.

"We back Cappy and the players we have to go well. It's the players ourselves, we just need to pick up (our performances). That's the only way we can succeed, if everyone buys into what we're trying to do here. We all believe if we do that we can go well."

Tipped by many to be a top-four contender, the Warriors' season is on life-support with four wins from 11 matches leaving them slumped down in 14th spot on the premiership ladder.

Tuivasa-Sheck has been forced to watch from the sidelines as he continues his recovery from the season-ending ACL injury suffered in the Warriors' round seven win over the Canterbury Bulldogs in mid-April.

The 22-year-old Kiwis international said the meeting allowed every player to have their voice heard, with senior members of the side encouraging the younger rookies to speak freely.

The point was made that if each player can lift their individual effort it will help ease the pressure on the likes of star halfback Shaun Johnson and the side's other key playmakers.

"It just allowed everyone to speak up and I feel like we need to fix our own problems," he said. "Everyone needs to contribute a bit more. If everyone owns up and doesn't wait for our stars to shine (it will help the team)."

Despite his own misfortune and the Warriors' current predicament, the former Sydney Roosters premiership winner insists he has no regrets about moving back to Auckland.

The high level of interest in the Warriors surprised him initially and he has been shocked by the intensity of some of the criticism directed at the club and individuals like Manu Vatuvei.

"There's so much media attention and so many people that are really passionate about the team. I look at it as they love us too much, that's why (fans attack players on social media).

"The boys want to play well to hopefully get the media off their backs so the pressure doesn't get to them, so they don't lack confidence, and they can just get back to playing."

On a personal note, Tuivasa-Sheck hopes to be back running within the next three months and rates himself an outside chance of being fit to play for the Kiwis at the Four Nations in November.

"As much as I really want to play the Four Nations and I'll actually be ready by that time, it's something I've got to go through with the physio and doctors and that call is with them.

"I'm just focusing on trying to get right because I've been getting a lot of advice about not rushing back. But in my head (I'm thinking) I might play the Four Nations so I need to get right for that, even though I know I'm not playing. So it's like a motivation thing for me."

- NZ Herald

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