McFadden slams embarrassing Warriors

Coach Andrew McFadden has lost patience with the Warriors, describing their 36-0 loss to St George Illawarra as embarrassing and comfortably their worst of the season.

The Dragons overcame the early loss of playmaker Benji Marshall to run riot in wintry Wellington, scoring six unanswered tries including four early in the second half.

Hooker Mitch Rein stepped up with a brilliant game in the absence of the veteran halfback, who limped off in the 16th minute. Moments earlier, Dragons centre Will Matthews also departed with a dislocated shoulder.

The loss of personnel didn’t affect the visitors, who held a blunt Warriors attack at bay to lead 10-0 at halftime before exploding through their feeble defence after the break.

McFadden has defended his team through much of their current four-match losing streak but couldn’t dredge up a positive following their heaviest loss since a 62-6 humiliation in Penrith two years ago.

“It was embarrassing to be honest,” he said.

“We just had not enough people up to first grade standard out there. There’s some players in our team who don’t deserve that – they really ripped in.

“We certainly need to play tougher. There were individuals who just weren’t up to standard.”

Clearly missing injured playmaker Shaun Johnson, the hosts lacked fluidity throughout a fumbling performance which further dents the play-off hopes that looked so solid a month ago.

The Warriors will be two points outside the top-eight with four rounds remaining but their form and a bleeding points differential suggests there will be no post-season.

Adding to their woes, McFadden confirmed sidelined winger Manu Vatuvei has again damaged the injured shoulder which recently kept him out for a month.

The Dragons ended a seven-game losing streak last week against the Knights and Saturday’s result should keep them ensconced in seventh.

Coach Paul McGregor was especially pleased with how they coped with the loss of Marshall, Matthews and winger Dylan Farrell, who was forced out soon before kick-off after damaging his back in the warm-ups.

“Morale’s important in rugby league and certainly they showed a lot of that,” McGregor said.

“Sport builds character and today they turned to each other and they found something. They’ll get a lot of confidence and belief from it.”

Winger Justin Hunt, who started in place of Farrell, crossed early through a Marshall cut-out pass which looked suspiciously forward before Rein stretched over for their second.

The livewire hooker came alive after the break, firstly delivering a deft cross-kick which was claimed spectacularly by a leaping Jake Marketo.

A Rein break from 60m out put Euan Aitken clear before he sent fellow-centre Peter Mata’utia over in the try of the game.

Gareth Widdop stepped around struggling opposite Chad Townsend for an easy try, adding to the Englishman’s 16-point haul.

Tyson Frizzell scythed over before the Dragons’ final points came from two Widdop penalties as hail pelted down.

The win is the 11th in succession for the Dragons over the Warriors, improving their overall record to 19 wins from 23 in one of the NRL’s most lop-sided relationships.

It was another forgettable Warriors visit to Wellington, where they have lost seven of eight games.

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