Despite being under pressure to keep his job beyond this season, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is not afraid to make unpopular decisions that he believes will best serve the club's long-term future.

McFadden had Warriors fans in an uproar following last week's golden point loss to Cronulla, after his shock move to drop versatile young gun Tui Lolohea to the interchange bench and hand the fullback jersey to David Fusitu'a.

The point of bigger controversy however, was his preference to promote Jonathan Wright from reserve grade to fill in on the right wing.

The decision to change a team that had enjoyed three straight wins was highlighted as a bad one after Wright made a pair of costly errors in the 19-18 defeat, but McFadden defended his contribution and justified his selections saying Fusitu'a's deserved a shot in the No1 jersey while Lolohea needed to improve areas of his game.


With the Warriors in 11th position on the NRL ladder and fighting to clinch a top eight finals berth for the first time since 2011, Lolohea has been recalled in place of Wright for tomorrow's crucial clash against the Gold Coast with Fusitu'a retaining the No1 jersey.

It is understood McFadden is likely to be replaced if the club fails to advance beyond the regular season, although there is a chance of a reprieve if the side can show considerable potential in their remaining nine matches.

But despite his apparently precarious position, he refuses to think about self-preservation and is prepared to make tough calls. He understands some of his selections may raise eyebrows but remains committed to the greater goal of bringing about long-term improvement in both individual players and the team's performances.

"I'm not worried about my job, I'm worried about what this club does and I wouldn't be doing the right thing if I overlook things," said McFadden.

"We're trying to build the standards so that we get that consistency and the moment I compromise on things is the moment we go backwards.

"So I know people will find those decisions strange at times because of the quality of the player, but it's my job to make sure that they keep maintaining their standards."

McFadden is well aware of Lolohea's game-breaking attacking ability but has been won over by Fusitu'a's intuitive positional play and believes the side is benefitting from having a bigger body at fullback on both attack and defence.

While Lolohea relies on speed and footwork to find space, Fusitu'a can take a direct line to straighten the attack and punch holes in the defence as he did in the lead-up to Blake Ayshford's try against the Sharks. He also had the strength to deny Chad Townsend with a brilliant try-saving tackle late in the match.

"Sometimes that's what's needed," said McFadden. "We need skill but we also need a physical presence out there and he's providing that.

"He gives us a different style and having a big physical fullback return the ball helps us.

"And he's coming up with some massive defensive plays for us and that's why he's getting the nod at the moment.

Lolohea had responded well to the changes and McFadden was confident his short-lived stint on the pine was enough to provoke the desired improvements in his play.

"He's so talented and he's still very young. It was a nice little freshen-up for Tui and I expect him to really respond, as he did on the weekend.

"He'll still have lots of involvement from the wing and they might even rotate through the game. So that gives us a bit of flexibility."

With rookie Ken Maumalo topping the metres gained stats in his last two outings on the left wing, McFadden will face more difficult decisions around the make-up of his outside backs when veteran Manu Vatuvei returns from a hamstring injury.