Warriors coach Andrew McFadden’s neck is on the chopping block after his side picked up where they left off with a wildly inconsistent effort in their 34-26 NRL round one loss to the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
The new-look Warriors had promised to cast-aside their Jekyll and Hyde reputation after snaring big name internationals Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke in a promising recruitment drive.
But that pledge counted for little after they were blown off the park in the opening exchanges to trail 28-4 at the break and ultimately fell short at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
During the game, social media lit up with jokes that McFadden might be the first coach to be sacked at halftime and former Warriors mentor Ivan Cleary, who took the side to the 2011 grand final, shapes as a possible replacement should he be axed.
The Warriors missed a whopping 19 tackles in the first half and Tuivasa-Sheck was badly exposed when he came up with a meek effort in cover to allow Tim Simona to finish off a length-of-the-field try a minute out from halftime.
McFadden was already under pressure after the side lost their previous eight NRL games to miss last year’s finals and a disappointing pre-season, which included 46-10 loss to St George Illawarra.
He requires an immediate response from his troops to save his job, but unfortunately for him it doesn’t get any easier with his side to take on premiership favourites Brisbane and Melbourne over the next fortnight.
While McFadden brushed off speculation about his own future, he conceded losing would ultimately lead to questions being asked about his side.
“Losing puts pressure on you regardless,” McFadden said.
“I know the situation we’re in. It’s round one. I think we’ll get some confidence out of that.”
The Warriors have now lost their last seven round one matches and must find a way to turn around their penchant for being slow starters.
Tuivasa-Sheck had a mixed night in his first outing in his new colours, making an 80-metre break from inside his side’s 10 metre zone which set up Bodene Thompson’s try but was kept mostly quiet.
“It’s hard for your (spine) to do much when you’re not winning the physical battle,” McFadden said.
“Once they started to do that, you saw what they could do. I think it’s pretty obvious for the group what needs to be done.”