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

League: Andrew McFadden keen to stay after year of drama

Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Andrew McFadden wants to stay on at Mt Smart, regardless of what unfolds over the rest of the season.

The Warriors coach has been under the spotlight all season, expected to deliver with the best roster assembled at the Auckland club for years.

Pre-season hopes of finishing in the top four have disappeared but making the playoffs for the first time in five years was non-negotiable.

Last night's win over Penrith was a timely fillip, but the Warriors will still need their best finish to a season since 2011 to make the top eight.

The Herald on Sunday confirmed in May that failure to reach the top eight would likely have dire consequences for the coaching staff, although there was a possible caveat based on perceived progress.

But McFadden is bullish, saying he wants to continue come what may.

"I don't make those decisions but, as far as I'm concerned, as long as I feel I have the support of the group - and I do - I will continue the process," said McFadden. "I won't be walking away, that's for sure. I love coaching here and will keep doing it as long as I feel like I am adding value to the organisation. We are building the right stepping stones to success."

It's been a year of living dangerously for McFadden. An underwhelming start, followed by some signs of hope then the nadir of awful losses in Christchurch (30-18 defeat to the Panthers) and Taranaki (38-12 defeat to the Raiders). There was also the messy Konrad Hurrell exit and the sleeping pills/energy drinks saga.

McFadden was under tremendous pressure two months ago, but has since guided the team to four wins and three golden-point losses. The results may not be enough come September, but there has been a discernible upward curve in performance.

"We have had arguably our most consistent two months since I've been here," said McFadden. "We have a lot more confidence in what we are doing [but] we are not the finished product. We need to improve but we certainly have a better foundation than we had."

McFadden's overall record is neither grim nor golden. Only Ivan Cleary (154) and Daniel Anderson (92) have coached more Warriors' games than McFadden's 62, but his win ratio (45.1 per cent) is middle of the pack. His statistics are blighted by the horror end to last season, when they lost eight in a row, but he has nurtured plenty of young talent that should bear fruit in coming years.

He has made some puzzling decisions with his selections and use of the bench but retains the faith of the playing group.

"I feel for him and we want to do what's right by him," said five-eighth Thomas Leuluai.

"He's one of the smartest coaches I've had and has a great understanding of the game. And despite everything that has happened [since he's been here] he's never changed as a person. It's not been an easy ride for him [but] he's still the same guy I met when I first came here."

- Herald on Sunday

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