New Zealand rugby league great Hugh McGahan has called on Warriors coach Andrew McFadden to block the return of six players who breached team rules.
The players, who were dropped for the Warriors’ NRL match against St George Illawarra last week amid allegations five of them had mixed prescription drugs with energy drinks, returned to the squad on Monday.
Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson were ruled ineligible for last Friday’s trans-Tasman Test against Australia in Newcastle, along with Manu Vatuvei who was given medical leave.
Albert Vete, Sam Lisone and Konrad Hurrell were also dropped after admitting they breached team protocol with their off-field behaviour in the wake of the 42-0 Anzac Day loss to Melbourne.
“I’m surprised that after a week, they are back in the fold again. Will they be selected?,” McGahan told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.
“This is a time for Andrew McFadden to draw a line in the sand and say to the club and everyone else out there, don’t stuff me around again.”
Former Eastern Suburbs (Sydney Roosters) and Kiwis captain McGahan said he was surprised no time limit had been placed on the players suspensions.
He didn’t think the players should line up for the Warriors match against Penrith in Christchurch on Saturday.
“Yes they might be remorseful, they’ve gone and apologised to everyone – would they have gone and apologised to those same people if they weren’t been told by the club this is what you need to do?”
“Manu Vatuvei, who was put on medical leave, is already back on.
“A big song and dance is made and yet he’s back one week later. What was so bad for him that he needed to have medical leave for one week?”
McGahan questioned whether McFadden was putting winning over establishing a strong club culture.
“I know he is under pressure, no question. He has to win games,” McGahan said.
“But sometimes there are more important things to do if you want long term success.”