The success of the Warriors junior program has undermined the club's progress and coach Andrew McFadden wants to recruit more experienced campaigners to help guide and better develop the side's talented youngsters.
With the Warriors finals hopes hanging by a thread following Saturday's embarrassing 36-0 loss to St George-Illawarra, McFadden has defended his side's late season slide into four straight defeats, saying the absence of several senior players has forced them to rely on youngsters that are not yet fully equipped to handle the pressures of first grade football.
McFadden believes the Warriors dominance at the Under 20s level hasn't provided players with the ideal preparation for NRL. Much has been done in his short tenure to improve the club's development and recruitment strategies, and that process is ongoing as he continues to search for suitable players to improve the side's depth for next season.
"It's one of the things myself and (managing director) Jim (Doyle) identified as soon as we got together in November last year, was that we needed to change the way we recruit," McFadden told Radio Sport today.
"One of the burdens for the Warriors is that they've got this really good junior development system and there's pressure on to keep these kids all the time. But they aren't seasoned first graders and it's a lot of pressure on them so it's certainly something we've identified.
"We're not putting as much emphasis on our Under 20s competition anymore. If they're good enough they need to be playing against men at a much younger age just to see if they can handle that pressure of playing adults.
"Our recruitment policy, the way our squad is made up, we had to change the whole strategy and that's what we've been doing."
The Warriors are struggling to cope after losing key players Shaun Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Thomas Leuluai and Bodene Thompson to injury. Together that group have 530 NRL games between them, while in their place; nine members of the team that were thrashed by the Dragons share just 152.
"You've got to have a look at who is sitting on the sideline," said McFadden. "Guys that we put our faith in earlier in the year, Ngani Laumape, Glenn Fisiiahi and even Konrad (Hurrell), to a certain degree, either haven't been there through injury or form. Those guys that we expected to be in our backline haven't come up and we've had to rely a lot on these young kids."
With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke already signed for 2014, McFadden is also searching for another experienced outside back to fill a similar role to steady and reliable centre-winger Jonathan Wright.
"It's going to take a bit of time and I understand everyone's frustrations but we've already started that process and we've obviously already recruited really well.
"I know that it's hard to see sometimes but we just need to keep getting more quality people and more quality players around. We're going to have probably no less than 11 players leave our squad next year and we've definitely got to change things up.
"We're looking for another Jono Wright and we're still looking for some quality as well but we've just got to make sure that it's the right one. We're not going to make any knee-jerk reactions."
The side's limp attacking display at Westpac Stadium has many fans questioning both McFadden's decision to drop Hurrell and his place as head coach, but he stands by his selections and insists he is doing everything in his power to improve the club's standing.
"I 100 percent stand by the decision. There were things I couldn't ignore in Konrad's performance last week, things I've brought up with him before. He's not a 20-game rookie anymore; he needs to be better than that.
"I know that I'm the right man and I know what I can do. I'm going to work as hard as I can to get there that's for sure."