David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Shaun Johnson: McFadden has our full respect

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson says besieged coach Andrew McFadden has the full backing of the players but realises the team's results will ultimately decide whether he keeps his job.

McFadden is contracted until the end of next season but is under pressure to hold his job after the side's poor start to the season that's delivered just four wins from 11 outings.

It's been reported he will be axed if the Warriors don't make the playoffs this year or at least show a considerable improvement.

Johnson is adamant McFadden has the knowledge and ability to steer the team out of their lowly 14th place on the NRL ladder and insists he has the unwavering support of the playing group.

That hasn't always been the case for previous Warriors mentors, he says, reflecting on his six seasons at the club that's seen him play under three other head coaches (Ivan Cleary, Brian McClennan, and Matt Elliott) since his debut in 2011.

"From a team perspective and a personal level, he does," said Johnson. "He's got the full respect of the playing group, which is a very rare thing since I've been at the club, to have a coach have that. And that's probably why we've had the turnover of coaches, but Cappy's got it and at the end of the day you need that."

Johnson understands fans' frustrations over the side's inconsistent form and the club's tumultuous state over recent seasons, but believes McFadden has the right plans in place to bring about long-term change and improvement.

New signings Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were part of McFadden's attempts over the last 18 months to revamp his squad after inheriting players from his predecessors. Tuivasa-Sheck's season-ending knee injury and issues around Luke's form had impacted on his plans, but Johnson says the intent is clear in what McFadden is trying to achieve.

"It's a completely different squad to last year," he said. "He's trying to change the club and push them in a different direction. And there are going to be teething problems.

"We had a massive setback with Roger, there's no doubt about it, but he's moulding the team and working with us."

That said, Johnson admits the side's ability to turn around their season will play a big part in whether McFadden survives or is fortunate enough to win an extension.

"It's hard to say he deserves it if we're not performing and he's not getting wins, just because that's the reality of professional sport.

"If I'm not performing, I'm not going to be here. It's a business - that's the bottom line - and as players we know that and he knows that."

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