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Eric Watson on Andrew McFadden: 'I threw him in the deep end'

Warriors owner Eric Watson has leapt to the defence of his former head coach Andrew McFadden saying his shortcomings were only a result of a challenge too large.

McFadden, who was expected to make both this year's and last year's NRL playoffs, failed to take his side to the knockout stages on both occasions and was earlier this week stood down as head coach.

However, instead of throwing him out completely, the organisation has given him a lifeline, putting him in an assistant coaching position.

Speaking to Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning, Watson said he was still extremely confident in McFadden's ability and didn't think his record was being judged fairly.

"I don't think he's failed," Watson said. "I threw him in the deep end and it's been tough.

"He was a young guy, rookie coach. But I could see the players at the time had immense respect for him. And he still has the respect of the players, the respect of the management, and the respect of the sponsors."

Watson also criticised his club's track record of throwing out management staff when results aren't favourable.

"We've been pretty hard on a few coaches, we've burnt them out, and we've burned a few CEOs out.

"Their lives have changed as a result."

Some have questioned why the organisation has chosen to keep McFadden as an assistant.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney was announced as McFadden's successor with former Warrior Stacey Jones also named as an assistant.

Despite the criticism, Watson is adamant it's the right choice.

"Why not keep him? He's got the IP, he understands what's happening, he knows what went wrong and what to do next time.

"We've had five seasons where we haven't had finals football and we need a different approach.

"We need a different approach to football, it's got to be a collaborative approach, a quality approach, we need to separate governance of a business, from the governance of football.

"Stephen [Kearney] is a collaborative type of coach, and he's [McFadden] is happy to embrace this collaborative approach."

- NZ Herald

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