How Konrad Hurrell is used over the coming weeks could define the tenure of Warriors coach Andrew McFadden.

With Blake Ayshford (concussion) and Manu Vatuvei (ribs) in doubt for next Sunday's match against Melbourne, Hurrell could come back into the picture, although Johnathan Wright, David Fusitua and Matt Allwood are other options.

As unlikely as it sounds, the inclusion of a fit and confident Hurrell could be the tipping point, enough to get the Warriors over the line for an elusive win.

It was a meritorious effort in Brisbane. For long periods, the Warriors matched - or even bested - the Broncos in the arm wrestle. But despite countless sets in opposition territory, and plenty inside the Brisbane 22, they made just one line break and didn't really look like making any more. It was like trying to knock down a wall with a foam mallet.


The Warriors need weapons, and their best one turned out in the NSW Cup yesterday. Sure, Hurrell has defensive shortcomings but so does the rest of the team. Even solid defenders like Ayshford and Jeff Robson contributed to the concession of soft tries in Brisbane.

The Warriors are going to leak some points for the foreseeable future. If their defensive patterns couldn't be fixed over a three-month off-season, they aren't going to be put in place during two sessions in a typical NRL week. So it is crucial they make the most of possession; by scoring tries, forcing repeat sets and knocking the energy out of opponents.

But is McFadden prepared to gamble on Hurrell, and more importantly give him the chance to prove himself?

"He is definitely in the frame. We have a few injuries," McFadden said after the 25-10 loss to the Broncos. "He is working on his game. [The priority] is taking those unforced errors out of this game - that's a big one."

That's fair enough, but Hurrell wouldn't exactly be Robinson Crusoe on that one. Senior Warriors players have made plenty of unforced errors over the last fortnight, including Ryan Hoffman, Shaun Johnson and Robson.

But the microscope will be on Hurrell because of his back story. All that does is create extra pressure and anxiety, as he knows that if he makes a couple of mistakes or misses a tackle, he could be jettisoned straight back out of the squad. That's what happened last year, when others weren't judged by the same sheet. Wright made one of the costliest errors of the year against the Roosters but was forgiven because he is seen as reliable. Chad Townsend had a string of poor performances late in the season but retained his spot.

Rookie coaches often get frustrated with young players and McFadden expressed that publicly last year about Hurrell and Ken Maumalo, among others. But you rarely hear Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy or Des Hasler talking about player shortcomings in public (especially their emerging talent), and hopefully that is a lesson McFadden has heeded.