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

Andrew McFadden remains defiant over future with Warriors

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden. Photo /  Doug Sherring.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden. Photo / Doug Sherring.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden remains defiant.

He denies there was a 'top eight or bust' ultimatum riding on this season, and McFadden says retains the backing of senior players and the club.

But he also admits it has been a steep learning curve over the last 2.5 years, and the ascension to head coach came much earlier than expected.

After the ignominious end to this season, when the Warriors lost four successive matches to slide from prime finals contenders to 10th position, conceding an average of 37 points a game over the last month in the process, McFadden is under severe pressure to retain his job.

It had been speculated that his future beyond this season was contingent on making the playoffs, but McFadden says that wasn't the case from his point of view.

"I spoke to [CEO] Jim [Doyle] very early [in the season] about what we want to do is improve as an organisation," McFadden told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave on The Sauce.

"There was no mention of any ultimatum or anything like that...it was just go out there and do your job."

However McFadden, about to conduct his third post season review as head coach, is realistic about his ongoing prospects.

"Everybody's positions are under the microscope at the moment so it is not a nice time," said McFadden.
"It's obviously been a very disappointing year. I've certainly got to take responsibility for where we finished. I felt like we were making some real progress, particularly mid-season but the way we performed in the last month hasn't been good enough so I expect my position to come under question. [We] let a good opportunity slip, [which is] bitterly disappointing at the moment."

In a frank admission, McFaddden also said it has been a steep learning curve for him over the last three seasons.

McFadden's ascension to the top job in May 2014 was a surprise at the time. He was handpicked by Matt Elliott to be his assistant, and behind the scenes had been identified as a possible head coach option when Elliott moved on. But that wasn't going to be until the end of the 2014 season - at least - until it was decided enough was enough after a 37-6 round five defeat against the Sharks. That thrust McFadden into the role, far ahead of schedule.

"It hasn't been smooth sailing since I have taken the job," said McFadden. "I was quite prepared to sit back and bide my time [as assistant coach] but you have to take your opportunities. There is no learning like being in the job - there is no real development pathway for a head coach. You need to hope that you are ready and learn as you go. I feel like I have really grown as a coach in the last two and half years and I am getting better but obviously the results aren't showing at the moment."

McFadden is adamant he hasn't lost the team and retains the support of "key senior players", as well as management.

"I still feel like I am contributing and people still want me here.", said McFadden. "I certainly want to stay. I'll got to go and do my job at the moment and then decisions will be made. It takes a bit of time, there's a fair bit of honesty so we will see what comes of it. I just need to go through the process and will we see where it takes us."

Reviews are ongoing at the Mt Smart club and are expected to continue into next week.

- NZ Herald

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