The “bro culture” criticised at the Warriors is the key to rugby league world No.1 New Zealand’s success, says Kiwis co-captain Adam Blair.
Blair has joined Warriors coach Andrew McFadden in taking aim at Graham Lowe after the former coach’s scathing assessment of the under-performing Auckland-based NRL club.
Lowe slammed the Warriors after their season-opening loss to unfancied Wests Tigers.
The former Kiwis and Queensland coach and one-time Warriors part-owner said the players were missing a hard edge and the club was going backwards due to a bro culture.
Brisbane prop Blair, who will play against the Warriors on Friday, defended them on Tuesday.
Blair backed his Kiwis teammates such as Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke at the Warriors, saying the club’s “brotherhood” culture mirrored that of world No.1 New Zealand.
“It’s the brotherhood that is the key to our (Kiwi) success,” Blair told AAP.
“The New Zealand team push culture and I know the Warriors do too.
“I know the boys there work hard to be where they are.
“I don’t think it is a culture thing.
“I know the boys turn up for each other, it just didn’t come off on the weekend.”
Blair tried to put the Warriors’ plight in perspective, saying they were under immense pressure to perform in a country where the All Blacks are so dominant in rugby union.
“It (Lowe’s comment) is a bit harsh,” he said.
“There has been a lot of pressure on the Warriors for a number of years now.
“I guess New Zealand expect more of them. But it’s tough for them back at home with rugby doing so well.”
Under growing pressure to keep his job, McFadden hit back at Lowe, hinting that the former coach was making headlines for his own gain.
“He’s obviously very keen to get back into the game – we’ll just leave it at that,” he said.
Asked about a bro culture, McFadden said: “You’ll have to ask Graham. I have no idea what he is talking about.”
McFadden did not want to debate whether Lowe’s comment had racial connotations: “He’s made comments. That’s for other people to judge,” he said.
Lowe later clarified that his use of bro culture referred to an overall Warriors mentality.
“I’m not referring to Polynesian or Maori players…anyone who knows me knows better than that. Actually, I don’t think there are enough Polynesian players,” he told RadioSport.
“It’s a relaxed, don’t worry, be happy culture – that’s what I’m seeing. I don’t see enough energy or concern.”
McFadden is under the pump after the Warriors’s woeful first round effort relegated the club to nine straight losses including the end of last season.
He insisted it was too early to judge his side and believed they could regroup ahead of their clash with 2015 grand finalists Brisbane.
“It’s round one. He (Lowe) has obviously been a little reactive in his comments,” he said.
“Internally we’ve addressed it (his comments) and that’s what we’ll focus on.”