4 Sep 2015

Season end finally here for woeful Warriors

11:14 am on 4 September 2015

This year was supposed to be a celebration for the Warriors, after 20 years in the National Rugby League, but it has felt more like a wake at the Auckland-based club in recent times.

The Warriors go into Sunday's final game of the season against Canterbury-Bankstown in Sydney having lost their last seven games on the trot and once again failing to make the top-eight finals.

It's the fourth consecutive year the Warriors have failed to make the playoffs, falling from fourth on the ladder to 12th in recent weeks.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said the season's ending had been disappointing, considering how well they had been doing for the first two-thirds of the competition.

He said that despite the result this season, he believed the Warriors had a brighter future.

"It's very hard to see the improvements we've made at the moment, but we certainly have."

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"There's a lot of hurt at the moment as well as disappointment, which is hard to take because there's been a lot of disappointment in the last few years but we felt like we made some real ground but it's not showing at the moment."

McFadden said he understood Warriors fans' disappointment over their recent performances, and he said the side needed to be better prepared for serious injuries.

The team had to face that issue this year when playmaker Shaun Johnson suffered a season-ending ankle break during the round 20 match against the Manly Sea Eagles.

But Johnson himself believed his team did not rely on one player and believed some of the criticism towards the team was unwarranted.

Warriors player Shaun Johnson is injured as he scores a try in the NRL Rugby League, Warriors v Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 25 July 2015. Copyright Photo: Fiona Goodall / www.photosport.nz

Shaun Johnson is carried from the field. Photo: Photosport

"You've got Tui (Tuimoala Lolohea) filling in at halfback, you've got Sam Lisone that's having to play bigger minutes, Solomone (Kata) who's played every single game this season, it has to take its toll.

"I think that whole story that the media try to run that they (the Warriors) are a one-man club and that they're in trouble, that's just the easy way out, that's just a title to a story."

But former Warriors and Kiwis coach Frank Endacott said the Warriors' slump in the competition could be put down in some part to Johnson's injury.

Endacott said when Johnson was fit again, the club had no real excuses for a poor season next year and believed they should at least finish inside the top four.

"You've got Roger Tuivasa-Sheck coming in as fullback, one of the most exciting players in the world. You've got Isaac Luke at hooker, you've got Shaun Johnson at halfback, now that is without doubt the most exciting rugby league spine in the world, so there's no reason not to play attractive rugby league and winning rugby league."

Endacott said it was natural for Warriors fans to be upset with the side and believed blaming the head coach for the poor performance was unfair.

He said that McFadden and Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle were moving the club in the right direction.

"I'm of the opinion that he (McFadden) should stay and I've always been of the opinion that every coach should have three full years to show his worth, and he's had a full year and a part year so he needs another full year under his belt."

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